NEWARK, NJ – Friday night, Tim Gleason told Mike Mottau, “Anything you can do, I can do better,” by scoring his first goal of the season as an overtime game-winner.
Mottau’s second goal of the season started the playoff scoring for the Devils on Wednesday, but Gleason’s tally pushed the series back to Carolina for Game Three even at one win apiece.
Gleason fired a one-timer from Joseph Corvo while Eric Staal screened Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. The puck bounced past the goalie 2:40 into the overtime session.
“It was high, it went off somebody’s leg or skate. I don’t know,” Brodeur said.
The Hurricanes dominated the overtime period, outshooting New Jersey 4-0 and trapping the Devils in their own zone.
Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen each had repeated attempts at the net, including a shot by Whitney that bounced off the crossbar.
“That was closer to the game that we’ve been playing for a long time,” Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said of his team’s overtime performance.
The Devils had to switch lines up at the end of the second period and throughout the rest of the game when captain Jamie Langenbrunner left the game with an unspecified lower-body injury.
Patrik Elias moved from the second line to the first with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac, and Brian Rolston shifted from third line to second with Brian Gionta and Dainius Zubrus, forcing the fourth line out of the rotation.
“We prefer a three line rotation over the course of the regular season, so I’d say maybe that evened the game,” Maurice said.
The Devils looked out of place without Langenbrunner, and although the team had shaken up lines throughout the season, adjusting to the new rotation seemed difficult.
“When you’re used to playing with someone for that long and to mix it up and constantly changing on the bench at the same time,” defenseman Paul Martin said. “Guys should know what they’re doing but obviously the chemistry is not there when you’re not playing with the guys you usually play with.”
The first line of Langenbrunner, Zajac and Parise worked well in the first period, but a disallowed goal may have been the deciding factor in pushing the game to extra time.
Travis Zajac knocked a shot by Langenbrunner down and into the net with a high stick at 10:18 in the first while the Devils were on a power play. A referee watched Zajac’s stick climb above the crossbar to bat at the puck, and immediately waved the goal off for high-sticking.
Not letting themselves get wrapped up in the no-goal, the Devils did score on the power play at 10:44, when Martin fired a shot from the right point and Parise deflected the puck into the top left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
New Jersey had seven more power play opportunities, but was unable to connect.
“We were able to get the puck in and get opportunities, we just weren’t able to capitalize,” Martin said.
Devils coach Brent Sutter agreed with the quality of the power play, but felt the missed chances were a bigger part of the game.
“You look at it now, it would’ve been nice to get another one or two on it. Still, our power play was still pretty good. We still had scoring chances on it, we created some things on it,” Sutter said.
With the series tied at 1-1, both teams travel to Carolina on Saturday for Sunday’s Game Three. New Jersey has not played its best at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C., losing both regular season games played there this season.
“We reset. We know we’re facing a great hockey team in Carolina. It wasn’t going to be a cakewalk,” Brodeur said.
The Devils will need to win at least one game to regain a true home-ice advantage the rest of the series.
“You have to win on the road in the playoffs. We have nothing to feel bad about. We played hard here tonight against a very good hockey team,” Sutter said. “Yeah, you lose home ice, and you go down there and you have to get it back. If you want to have success you have to win on the road, too.”
Games Three and Four will be played in North Carolina, and then the series returns to the Prudential Center for Game Five on Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Until then, it will be a long trip to Raleigh, where the Devils will try to everything the Hurricanes can do, but a little bit better.