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Khudobin gets first win, Hurricanes defeat Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin was finally able to celebrate a victory following a 2-1 shootout win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

Khudobin, who was making consecutive starts for the first time since Oct. 16 and 21, earned his first win in 11 games (1-8-2) making 18 saves. In the shootout, he forced Scott Gomez wide, and made saves against Mike Cammalleri and Adam Henrique for his first win since a 5-4 shootout victory against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 13, 2014.

Hurricanes forward Chris Terry scored in the third round of the shootout to give Carolina its first shootout win in four tries. Terry is the only player to score in the shootout for the Hurricanes (2-for-4).

The Devils are 2-6 in shootouts.

Khudobin came up big with four seconds remaining in overtime when he turned aside a deflection in the slot by Henrique to send the game into a shootout.

"It wasn't like the hockey gods didn't want to give me a win, give us a win," Khudobin said. "I tried to focus on my game since I had never started a season like this."

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters was glad to see Khudobin finally get rewarded.

"I thought [it was a character win] tonight," Peters said. "It was a good win for Anton. He's been good for us and it's good to break the schneid and get the win. The guys played well for him tonight."

Devils goalie Cory Schneider made 32 saves in his NHL-leading 32nd start of the season. Forward Stephen Gionta scored for New Jersey and defenseman Ron Hainsey tied the game late in the third period for Carolina.

The Hurricanes tied the game 1-1 on their 29th shot when Hainsey had a left-point shot by defenseman Andrej Sekera deflect off his leg and past Schneider at 11:59. The goal, Hainsey's first of the season, ended Schneider's shutout. His last one was Nov. 21.

"I felt good and sometimes those are the goals it takes but you throw enough pucks to the net and you're going to get a bounce," Schneider said. "I thought we were in an OK place in the third but when you leave a slim margin for error, then all it takes is a bounce and it goes the other way. I think we could be better in the third period, that's for sure."

Schneider made 15 saves in the second period, eight in the third period and three in overtime. After serving an interference penalty, Hainsey exited the box and broke in 1-on-1 against Schneider but was stopped less than a minute into overtime. Sekera took a rising snap shot that Schneider stopped 13 seconds later.

The Hurricanes outshot the Devils 33-19, completely frustrating the home team in the neutral zone and forcing Schneider to be perfect. Schneider was good enough but once again failed to receive offensive support. The Devils have scored five non-shootout goals in their past five games (1-3-1).

"You can't get frustrated," Schneider said. "Individually, we need to focus on what we could do better coming back after the holiday break. For me it's playing like that more often and giving my team a chance to win; try and steal one. I know I can do that more consistently on a nightly basis. We can all improve in a bunch of areas."

The victory by the Hurricanes (10-20-4) was their second in four games heading into the three-day holiday break. Carolina, which ended a four-game road losing streak, will visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. New Jersey (12-17-7) lost its second straight and went 1-2-1 on its four-game homestand. The Devils will travel to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers on Saturday.

The Devils managed to maintain a 1-0 lead in the second period despite being outshot 15-3. Schneider was the difference, making numerous saves, including consecutive stops against the crafty center Elias Lindholm on a wraparound and the ensuing snap shot off a quick rebound at 4:17. He continued to bail out the Devils at 9:18 when he took a shot by winger Nathan Gerbe off his goalie mask.

"We really, really carried the play," Hainsey said. "If you're doing that, you're doing well. In the second period we had five Grade-A, ten-bell chances."

Schneider's best save came at 16:13 of the second period when Brendan Woods had an uncontested snap shot from between the circles that Schneider snapped up with his glove. Woods, who was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Monday, was making his NHL debut.

"I know no one wants to hear excuses and I'm not going to make any, but I'm definitely not going to throw our guys under the bus," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "If you're in our dressing room, our effort is there. They’re working at it.

"Put other teams in the situation we've been in here with seven regulars out of our lineup and it's not easy."

The Devils took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Gionta scored his first goal in seven games at 13:32. Steve Bernier skated into the Carolina end and fed Gionta, who took a slap shot that deflected off defenseman Michal Jordan in the slot and past Khudobin.

"We had the lead there but couldn't extend the lead," Schneider said. "Too often that's what has been happening to us. Now we have a few days to clear our heads. Sometimes when you're in it, it's hard to get out of it, so we'll come back with a fresh mentality."

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