"It was the wrong stick in the wrong place at the wrong time," Henrique said of sending Joni Pitkanen's pass into the goal past Martin Brodeur for the goal that tied the game at 2-2.
"It was tough, but I had to get past it. I couldn't sit there and dwell on it. I knew I still had time to contribute."
Henrique skated around the back of Carolina goaltender Cam Ward and slid the puck under Ward for the Devils' third straight victory.
It was Henrique's second straight game-winner after scoring in overtime to beat Winnipeg on Saturday.
Henrique is the first Devils' rookie to be credited with the game-winning goal in two consecutive games since Patrik Elias on Nov. 8-10, 1997, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"I knew Ward was going to slide to the post, so I just slid around and threw it there, hoping something would happen," said Henrique, who scored his fourth goal in the past five games. "It was a lucky bounce. I'll take them all."
Devils coach Peter DeBoer is impressed with Henrique, who has been with the club since Oct. 22, when center Jacob Josefson broke his collarbone.
"The kid obviously has a knack for big goals," DeBoer said of the 21-year-old rookie.
"He has speed, skill, good size and a unique composure for a young guy. The game is moving on around him and nothing rattles him. I really like that about him. A lot of other young guys wouldn't want to get back on the ice after a play like that. He not only wants to get back out there, but make a play. Pressure doesn't get to him and he's able to rise to the occasion."
Ward made 33 saves for the Hurricanes, while Brodeur had 25 saves for his second straight win after missing nearly three weeks with a shoulder injury.
The Hurricanes opened the scoring on Sutter's goal at 9:27 of the first period.
Sutter made a steal just 8 seconds into the Devils' first power play and skated in and sent a shot past Brodeur.
The Devils had a great chance to score on that power play, but Sykora's high shot clanked off both posts and rolled across the goal line.
Brodeur made a sensational sprawling save with 14 minutes left in the second period, keeping the Hurricanes' lead at 1-0.
Five minutes later, the Devils tied it when Zubrus redirected a slap shot by Anton Volchenkov past Ward. The goal was under review by officials for more than five minutes.
It was later ruled that Zubrus deflected the goal with his stick below the crossbar and the replay was inconclusive to overturn the goal, the fourth of the season for Zubrus.
"Of course, any time you have to wait that long, there's some doubt," Zubrus said. "They looked at it for a very long time, so I guess it was close. I'm just glad it counted. I thought at one point maybe my stick was high, but I then thought it was a good goal."
Elias earned an assist on the goal that tied the game at 1-1.
Sykora gave the Devils the lead at 2:37 of the third period with his second goal of the season.
Elias won the faceoff in the Carolina end and pushed the puck back to Sykora, who fired it past Ward for the go-ahead goal. It was the second assist of the game for Elias.
The Hurricanes tied the game at 2-2. Pitkanen slid the puck across in front, but Henrique got his stick on the puck and redirected it into the goal past Brodeur.
"I saw his face and I knew he was upset," Brodeur said of Henrique's reaction. "I just tapped him on the legs with my stick and told him that things like can happen. It more than likely can happen again."
"Marty let him off the hook," DeBoer said. "It was a great veteran move. The young guy made a mistake and he bounced right back after it."
Pitkanen was credited with his third goal of the season on the play.
Sutter was disappointed that his team lost for the third straight time.
"It's tough to take," Sutter said. "We've had a tough go the last few games. We competed tonight the way we wanted to, but things didn't go our way. The last game was different, because we didn't play hard enough. Tonight, we get back to our game, play well and still come up short. It's a game that could have gone either way and it didn't go our way."
Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Kovalchuk reported some improvement, but there was no determination as to whether he could return when the Devils begin a home-and-home series with Washington on Friday night. ... Devils defenseman Andy Greene returned after missing two games, also with a lower-body injury. ... Jussi Jokinen missed the game for the Hurricanes.