Henrique's winner lifts Devils past 'Canes
Tuesday, 11.08.2011 / 10:16 PMNEWARK, N.J. --
How impressive has rookie Adam Henrique
looked to New Jersey Devils
coach Peter DeBoer?
"He has a unique composure … almost a (Patrik) Elias-type composure where the game might be moving around him, but it doesn't rattle him and that's a great quality to have," DeBoer said.
Do you think?
Just three days after getting the overtime winner against the Winnipeg Jets, the 21-year-old Henrique did it again on Tuesday when he corralled a loose puck in the left-wing corner before tucking home a wraparound attempt with 3:19 left in regulation to give the Devils a 3-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes
at Prudential Center.
Henrique becomes the first Devils rookie since Elias in 1997 to record back-to-back game-winning goals. In the last three games, including two straight with Ilya Kovalchuk
sidelined with a lower-body injury, the Brantford, Ont., native has four goals and six points.
Scoring the winner on Tuesday enabled Henrique to make amends for an earlier mishap that led to the game-tying tally by the Hurricanes when Joni Pitkanen
's centering attempt from the left circle deflected off his stick and past goalie Martin Brodeur
at 6:06 of the third period to get the Hurricanes even at 2-2.
Brodeur, who finished with 25 saves in winning his second straight start, told the rookie to shake off the goal -- and he did.
"I saw his face and was like, 'It's all right. It happens to everybody,' '" Brodeur said.
"(Henrique) shook it off … Marty gave him tap on shin pads to kind of let him off the hook and I thought that was a great veteran move," DeBoer said. "There was a team breakdown on that goal so Adam wasn't to blame."
Still, Henrique was glad to have an opportunity to atone for the tying goal.
"You have to more forward and that's what I did and I got the goal there at the end," Henrique said. "I'm glad I can laugh about it now. I knew [Carolina goalie Cam] Ward would get to the post so I just tried to wrap it and maybe go through the five-hole. I got a lucky bounce and it hit his skate or something."
Henrique also credited a superb effort by Dainius Zubrus
on the game-winner. Zubrus actually made the play possible when he outworked two Carolina players in the corner before Henrique finally entered the picture to pick up the loose puck.
"(Zubrus) was huge there," Henrique said. "I don't know how long he was in the corner for, but he protected the puck well and took two guys out of the play. I just came in and was able to fish out the loose puck. The credit all goes to him on that one."
DeBoer praised the effort put forth all game by Zubrus -- who finished with a goal, an assist, a plus-2 rating and seven wins on eight faceoffs -- and his linemates Petr Sykora
and Elias. The trio had the unenviable task of shutting down the line of Eric Staal
, Chad LaRose
and Jeff Skinner
Zubrus was happy his hard work paid off in the end.
"I know I was the last guy on the shift and went into the corner by myself on the forecheck," he said. "I thought I could get on the puck. I just battled and wanted to hold onto it and wait for help because I knew I was sort of by myself. A couple of those guys were trying to get the puck and Adam came in and scooped it away and went behind the net.
"I was actually going for a change because I was so gassed and then I realized we scored a goal so I was happy with that."
Brodeur turned aside 25 shots in the triumph while Ward stopped 33 shots for Carolina, which has lost three straight. The victory was the third straight for the Devils, who could have Kovalchuk back into the lineup on Friday when the Washington Capitals come to Newark for the start of a home-and-home series.
"I thought Marty was outstanding [throughout] and some huge saves early in the game to keep it close," DeBoer said. "As a team, we could do better defensively." The Devils did outshoot the Hurricanes, 36-27.
The Devils took their first lead 2:37 into the third when Sykora ripped a shot from the top of the left circle that deflected off Ward's glove and across the goal line. A frustrated Ward angrily slapped the puck away from his net. Elias won an offensive-zone draw to set up Sykora's blast.
The Hurricanes opened the scoring 9:27 into the game on a shorthanded goal by Brandon Sutter
, who broke in 2-on-1 with Patrick Dwyer
before ripping a shot from the right circle that beat Brodeur low to the long side.
Ward turned aside 16 shots in the first, including six during three New Jersey power plays. His best two stops came off the stick of Nick Palmieri
in a span of nine seconds midway through the period.
New Jersey pulled even at 10:56 of the second when Zubrus redirected a shot from the right hash that beat Ward to the short side. The referee on the spot ruled that Zubrus had tipped the puck into the net with his stick below the crossbar and a subsequent video review of the play proved inconclusive, so the goal stood.
Defenseman Anton Volchenkov
took the initial blast from the right point that Zubrus clipped with his stick. The goal was the 500th career point for Zubrus, who is now also four games shy of 1,000 in a career that spans 15 seasons. Elias extended his point-scoring streak to five games with an assist.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale