EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The Carolina Hurricanes are finally making the most of their scoring opportunities.
Held to two goals in each of their first three games, the Hurricanes have scored 13 in their last two, including a 6-1 win over New Jersey on Saturday night. In the process, they chased Devils goalie and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur after two periods.
``I think things are evening out the last couple of games,'' Rod Brind'Amour said. ``The first few games we had some tremendous scoring opportunities and we weren't scoring.''
Brind'Amour scored two goals and Matt Cullen had a goal and two assists for Carolina, which beat Washington 7-2 at home on Wednesday. They totaled six goals in losses to Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders and a shootout win against Pittsburgh.
The Hurricanes' six goals were one more than they scored in four games in the 2003-04 season against New Jersey, a team generally known for its rugged defense.
``Against the old Devils, you were lucky to get one or two - you'd hope you got lucky on a power play and that you wouldn't give one up,'' Brind'Amour said.
Carolina jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first period on a power-play goal by Radim Vrbata at 5:32. The Hurricanes pressured Brodeur frequently during the period, forcing him to stop consecutive 2-on-1s in less than a minute during one stretch.
The lead increased to 3-0 later in the period when Erik Cole and Cullen scored within 17 seconds of each other. Cole took advantage of a lapse by defenseman Dan McGillis when McGillis lost control of the puck at his own blue line and Cole skated in alone on Brodeur.
Jay Pandolfo made it 3-1 when he scored for New Jersey at 6:18 of the second period, crossing in front of the crease and backhanding a rebound of a shot by Richard Matvichuk past Ward. But Brind'Amour and Josef Vasicek scored to make it 5-1 before the period ended.
That was all for Brodeur, who faced 19 shots in the two periods and later said he opted not to come out for the third period when asked by goaltending coach Jacques Caron.
``I could have stayed in. It was my choice,'' Brodeur said. ``When the team is struggling, why be in there for the sake of being there?''
Cam Ward, a rookie who earned his first NHL victory on Oct. 7 against Pittsburgh, stopped 27 shots for Carolina.
While the Hurricanes have hit their stride in their last two games, the Devils played sluggishly Saturday two days after losing 4-1 to the New York Rangers.
``I'm not worried, but concerned,'' said Devils coach Larry Robinson, ``with the way we're playing and the effort that I'm getting.''
Notes: Carolina's win was the 100th for coach Peter Laviolette ... Brodeur was last pulled from a game in a 4-3 loss at Boston on March 13, 2003 ... The Devils last allowed six goals in a game at home in a 6-3 loss to Edmonton on Nov. 9, 2002. Carolina's last six-goal game on the road occurred in a 6-6 tie at Florida in the last regular season game of 2003-04 ... Devils D Paul Martin missed his second straight game with a back injury. Also scratched was C Erik Rasmussen (bruises).