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Devils 3, Hurricanes 2 @NHLdotcom

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -Martin Brodeur kept stopping the defending Stanley Cup champions and kept the New Jersey Devils in the hunt for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Brodeur stopped 38 shots, and Erik Rasmussen and Zach Parise scored third-period goals in New Jersey's 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

"We kept things simple," Brodeur said. "We're fortunate that we're not fighting for our lives right now. Right now, we just have to play solid and keep our game together."

Scott Gomez had a goal and an assist, and Jamie Langenbrunner added two assists for the Devils, who have won three of four and remained two points behind Buffalo in the race for first in the East.

Brodeur made 22 saves in the third period and beat the Hurricanes for the third time this season.

"Marty was outstanding obviously," Devils coach Claude Julien said. "We had to have a lot of guys step up for us to make that happen, and Marty was definitely one of those guys."

David Tanabe and Andrew Ladd scored for the Hurricanes, who have lost two of three and are tied with the New York Islanders for seventh in the East. John Grahame, making his second straight start after No. 1 goalie Cam Ward cut his leg Sunday against the New York Rangers, made 22 saves.

"I liked the way we came out," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "We had good steam, and in the end, we just couldn't beat their goaltender."

Rasmussen put New Jersey ahead to stay 40 seconds into the third, tapping the rebound of Gomez's hard shot past Grahame to make it 2-1.

"When you go into the third period tied 1-1, that next goal is so crucial," Tanabe said. "When they got that, it was tough to battle back."

Parise scored midway through the period when he took a centering pass from Travis Zajac and beat Grahame stick-side for his 28th goal.

"The last goal was unfortunate, I think," Laviolette said. "It kind of took the wind out of our sails, but in the end, it kind of got us going as well."

Ladd made it 3-2 about 3 minutes later when he redirected Tim Gleason's long slap shot into the net. Grahame was pulled for an extra skater with about 90 seconds left, but Carolina couldn't generate any more offense against Brodeur.

The Devils took a 1-0 lead almost from the drop of the puck. Gomez scored 39 seconds in on the first shot of the game. He took a pass from Langenbrunner and scored with a wrist shot from just inside the right circle.

The Hurricanes controlled the rest of the opening period, with Tanabe tying it midway through the frame with his second goal of the season.

Notes: Brodeur entered having allowed a total of two goals in two victories over Carolina this season. ... The Devils improved to 3-0 in the season series. ... The teams meet again Saturday in New Jersey. ... Carolina D Bret Hedican (lower body injury) was scratched and is out indefinitely. ... Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour's scoring streak ended at four games.

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