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game recap

Rask, Hurricanes edge Devils

Forward has two goals, Carolina holds on to defeat New Jersey

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Victor Rask is a soft-spoken Swede, but the second-year NHL forward is beginning to let his game do the talking.

Rask scored twice and the Carolina Hurricanes held off the New Jersey Devils 3-2 at PNC Arena on Sunday.

The 23-year-old center reached the 20-goal mark for the first time, boosting his point total to 45.

"It's a lot of fun to score goals, but I just try to develop for every game and see how that goes," he said.

Rask has six goals in the past 10 games, and is a reliable scoring option for the Hurricanes.

Video: NJD@CAR: Rask's PPG gives Canes a 2-0 lead

"There is a lot of potential there," center Jordan Staal said. "He's grown so much as a player and for this team. He's always been on the right side of the puck and he's great defensively. It's the offensive game that's taken another stride, and it's really nice to see."

Cam Ward made 23 saves for the Hurricanes (33-28-15), who have earned points in 10 of their past twelve games (5-2-5).

The Devils (36-32-8) lost their second straight game.

Carolina jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals 36 seconds apart in the first period.

Skating 4-on-4, Staal controlled the puck on the right wing before finding Ron Hainsey pinching in from the left point for his fifth goal of the season at 9:10.

Video: NJD@CAR: J. Staal feeds Hainsey for a one-timer

Moments later, Joseph Blandisi was whistled for tripping, and the Hurricanes scored on a 4-on-3 power play. Rask took a pass from Elias Lindholm and beat Scott Wedgewood with a wrist shot past the blocker at 9:46. Rask's 19th of the season was Carolina's first with the man advantage in seven games.

"[Rask] was excellent," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "He had six shots after 20 minutes. He was real good in the faceoff circle, he had some shots. Those are the things we want out of a player."

The Devils avoided more trouble when Devante Smith-Pelley was called for tripping and an unsportsmanlike conduct at 13:22 of the first period, but New Jersey killed each penalty. Wedgewood stopped Noah Hanifin in close, then reached with his glove to deny Staal on a scoring chance from the goal line.

The Hurricanes outshot the Devils 14-3 in the period.

"Obviously they came out well," said Devils forward Bobby Farnham. "We were in the box in the first, which gave them some momentum. Then we got some saves from Wedgewood to keep us in the game."

Video: NJD@CAR: Rask buries a breakaway for his second goal

Rask scored his second goal at 2:01 of the second period. Jeff Skinner's long pass through two defenders in the neutral zone connected with Rask, who finished a breakaway with another wrist shot past Wedgewood's blocker.

"When I got it, I saw that Rask had a bit of a step," Skinner said. "I just tried to throw it up in his general area. He did a great job catching the pass and on the finish."

The Devils responded with two goals 50 seconds apart.

When Brad Malone lost control of the puck between the circles, Farnham sent a quick wrist shot behind Ward and inside the far post for his eighth of the season at 6:27.

Video: NJD@CAR: Zajac buries an easy goal

The Devils cut the lead to 3-2 on Travis Zajac's goal at 7:17. Kyle Palmieri stripped the puck from Ward behind the Carolina net and centered to the slot. After Blake Pietila pushed a shot on net, the rebound came to Zajac, who put the puck into an open net. Pietila, playing in his third NHL game, earned an assist for his first NHL point.

"We wound up playing with the puck a little bit (in the second)," New Jersey coach John Hynes said. "We put pucks behind their defensemen and that was something we wanted to do in the first period. We were stronger on pucks, and we played a much harder game in the second and third period."

The Devils outshot the Hurricanes 22-9 in the final 40 minutes.

"As resilient as this team is, we came back and played them tough down the stretch," Farnham said.

The loss was the first in regulation for Wedgewood, who made 20 saves (2-1-1). He made his fourth straight NHL start after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets in his debut on March 20.

"I'm not upset with anything I did out there," Wedgewood said. "I've been confident since Day One when I stepped up here and that's what has helped me. I've stay calm and collected. It's exciting. I feel like I belong. And with the way the guys are playing in front of me, it makes it a lot easier."

Video: Rask, Ward lift Hurricanes over Devils

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