Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 3/31/12
Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists and New Jersey clinched a playoff berth by steamrolling host Carolina 5-0 on Saturday.

Martin Brodeur earned his NHL-record 119th career shutout by turning aside 22 shots against the lifeless Hurricanes, who were eliminated from postseason contention Friday night.

Petr Sykora added a goal and an assist and David Clarkson, Ryan Carter and captain Zach Parise also tallied for the Devils, who missed the playoffs last season to end a string of 13 straight postseason appearances.

Brodeur won his third straight start and notched his third shutout of the season while blanking Carolina for the ninth time in his career.

After Clarkson's power-play goal beat Brian Boucher with only 22 seconds left in the first period staked Brodeur to a 1-0 lead, the Devils quickly broke it open in the second period.

Kovalchuk scored his team-high 34th goal at 1:44 and Carter finished off a 2-on-1 just 1:44 later to build the lead to 3-0.

Sykora put the game out of reach on a blast off the faceoff with 2 1/2 minutes left in the period as the Devils beat the Hurricanes for the sixth time in seven meetings.
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