A terrible start doomed the New Jersey Devils last season, when they missed the playoffs for the first time since 1995-96.
Intent on avoiding another poor start, the Devils took a step in the right direction Monday afternoon with a solid 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes that evened New Jersey's record at 1-1. Ilya Kovalchuk scored the deciding goal and added two assists while Johan Hedberg made 24 saves.
''Everybody is in the same position right now,'' Kovalchuk said. ''You want to get as many wins as you can early because the season always goes up and down. You want the wins now to help yourself later on.''
Zach Parise had two goals and Mark Fayne added another for New Jersey, which beat Carolina for a sixth straight time at home. The Devils went seven games last year (0-5-2) before posting a win at the Prudential Center.
Hedberg, Martin Brodeur's backup, drew an early start after not making his first start last year until the eighth game. He improved to 4-0-0 over the last...