Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 12/26/11
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Cam Ward made 23 saves and was credited with a bizarre empty-net goal, leading the Carolina Hurricanes past the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Monday night. Brandon Sutter had a short-handed goal, Tuomo Ruutu and Anthony Stewart scored in the second period, and Tim Gleason and Tim Brent each had two assists for the Hurricanes. Ward's first career goal came at the end of a strange sequence. Ilya Kovalchuk's errant pass for Adam Henrique from the end line wound up going the length of the ice and into an empty net with 29.4 seconds left. Officials initially awarded the goal to Sutter before a postgame review determined he never touched the puck. David Clarkson had a goal and an assist for New Jersey. He and Henrique scored in the third period and Johan Hedberg made 30 saves for the Devils, who had won seven of nine. Clarkson broke up the shutout when he scored with 7:22 left. Henrique then pulled the Devils to 3-2 when he scored with 2:20 remaining before the odd sequence in the final minute. Anton Volchenkov finished with two assists for New Jersey, which lost Ryan Carter to a game misconduct late in the first period for drilling Jaroslav Spacek hard into the end boards. Carolina, in last place in the Southeast Division, has earned points in six of eight games. Two of the best players in Devils history were behind Carolina's bench. New coach Kirk Muller and assistant John MacLean combined for 532 goals during their time on the ice in New Jersey. The Devils sure could have used their offensive punch early in this one. Instead, for most of the way, it was the Hurricanes who showed off their firepower. Ruutu pushed Carolina's lead to 2-0 by scoring his team-leading 13th goal just over 7 minutes into the second. He chipped in a rebound past a sprawled-out Hedberg and into an open net. Stewart then made it a three-goal game 10 minutes later when his wrist shot from the circle got past Hedberg's stick. That came after Sutter scored the Hurricanes' first goal midway through the first and 23 seconds into a tripping penalty on Ruutu. Sutter chased down the puck near center ice and skated in on Hedberg before uncorking a wrist shot from the circle that clipped the left pipe on its way in. That gave the Hurricanes their seventh short-handed goal -- tying them with the Devils for most in the NHL -- and marked the league-worst 11th allowed by New Jersey. It could have been worse for the Devils, who held Carolina scoreless during a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:19, a sequence that included the misconduct and 5-minute boarding major on Carter. Drayson Bowman rang the left post moments after Stewart's goal. NOTES: New Jersey has allowed at least three goals in five straight games. ... Ruutu has points in five straight games. ... Sutter has three short-handed goals. ... The two shots allowed in the second were the fewest yielded in a period by Carolina all season. ... The Devils lead the season series 2-1, with the home team winning every game.
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