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Cammalleri's two goals power Devils past Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New Jersey Devils started the first fathers' trip in their history in style.

Mike Cammalleri had two goals and an assist, and Keith Kinkaid made 30 saves to help the Devils (13-10-2) to a 5-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Thursday.

Cammalleri said his father probably wasn't so concerned with his big individual performance.

"He's always happy with a win and as long as everybody's healthy," said Cammalleri, who leads the Devils with 26 points and the NHL with five three-point games. "That's his concern."

Not everyone left the game healthy, though. Travis Zajac went off in the first period with an upper-body injury, but Devils coach John Hynes was unclear what happened. Hynes said Zajac would not play Friday when New Jersey hosts the Philadelphia Flyers.

It was Kinkaid's second win in his fifth start. His father, John, spent much of the game pacing in the dads' suite.

"He gets a little nervous out there," Kinkaid said. "He likes to stand up and shake his knees a little bit. I think that's a Kinkaid thing. It's definitely special to get the win with the dads on the trip. I'm sure he loved it."

Cammalleri started the scoring at 15:17 of the first period. With all three Hurricanes forwards caught up ice, Cammalleri made a cross-ice pass to Tyler Kennedy before taking a return pass and hitting an open net from the left circle.

In the second period, the Devils capitalized on the first penalty of a high-sticking double minor against Jeff Skinner. Adam Henrique caught the Carolina defense flat-footed at the blue line before skating in for a backhand shot over goalie Eddie Lack's glove at 11:03. The goal came with one second remaining on the first minor.

Stephen Gionta made it 3-0 with a strong individual effort at 13:10, six seconds after the second Skinner minor expired. Gionta took a wrist shot, then gloved down the rebound before circling the net and wrapping the puck around the far post.

It was Gionta's first goal in 35 games dating to last season.

"It's one thing to be satisfied with getting chances, it's another to not be denied and make sure some end up in the back of the net," Cammalleri said. "That's the feeling we were able to achieve tonight."

Carolina made it 3-1 when Brad Malone scored his second of the season at 17:36. He took a pass in the slot from Jay McClement and shot low to Kinkaid's blocker side.

New Jersey answered quickly on Jacob Josefson's first of the season, ending his 27-game goal drought. He held the puck on a 2-on-1 and scored short side from the right circle for a 4-1 lead at 18:57.

"He does so many good things for our team," Hynes said. "He's had opportunities to score. Unfortunately, they haven't gone in for him. It's nice to get that monkey off the back for him. Hopefully, he can settle in and continue to play well."

Cammalleri scored his second of the night and ninth of the season at 12:47 of the third period. Patrik Elias made a long diagonal pass to Cammalleri, who hit an open net from just above the goal line.

Kinkaid was sharp the entire game, limiting rebounds and making mostly routine saves.

"It's a credit to our guys, keeping their shots to the outside," Kinkaid said. "I had one little hiccup there when they used [Eric] Gelinas as a screen [on Malone's goal]. But everything we did out there was spot on. It was a great team game."

The Hurricanes (8-13-4) have been outscored 13-5 during a three-game losing streak.

"It was a tough night," said captain Eric Staal, who has not scored in the past 13 games. "We needed to have more of a competitive edge to our game. They were on us. We were spending time in our own end fighting to get pucks under control."

Staal is not alone when it comes to a long goal drought. Riley Nash (17 games) and Kris Versteeg (13 games) are also pressing. The Hurricanes power play, which went 0-for-2, is last in the League (12.2 percent).

"There's a lot bottled up," Staal said. "There's a lot mentally you go through every day. It's tough sledding right now. We've got to find a way to pick ourselves up, because we're obviously down."

For the Devils, having their fathers in the arena made the two points more than a routine December victory. And the dads might provide even more inspiration.

"It's special getting a win for the dads, but having said that, the dads' trip isn't over," Cammalleri said. "They're coming tomorrow night. Let's get right back at it."

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