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Kinkaid injured in Devils' win against Hurricanes

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goaltenders Keith Kinkaid and Cory Schneider combined for 31 saves to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 3-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Kinkaid started the game but left for the locker room with 6:01 remaining in the second period after sustaining an apparent lower-body injury while stretching from right to left to block a shot attempt by Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk.

Devils co-coach Lou Lamoriello confirmed after the game that Kinkaid should be fine and that he will not recall another goalie from the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Albany. Lamoriello added that Devils assistant coach Chris Terreri would have played as the emergency backup if Schneider had been injured.

"[Kinkaid] felt something in the lower part of his leg, but right now he's OK," Lamoriello said. "It was Keith's decision on whether or not he felt he needed to come out. He wasn't sure, so you don't take a chance."

Schneider, who replaced Kinkaid with the Devils leading 3-0, made 14 saves in relief. Kinkaid, who made 17 saves, was making his eighth start of the season and first since a 6-2 loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 7.

Tuomo Ruutu, Adam Henrique and Andy Greene each scored in the first period for the Devils (24-26-9).

Jeff Skinner scored off a slap shot from between the circles with 6:04 remaining in the third for the Hurricanes.

"It's tough to spot a team three goals, especially this team," Skinner said. "They do a great job locking things down in the neutral zone. They make it tough to generate a lot of chances. I thought we worked for our chances, but a couple too many breakdowns and turnovers [ended up in] the back of our net. It's tough to come back from that."

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters pulled goalie Anton Khudobin (16 saves) with more than four minutes remaining in regulation for an extra attacker, but the Devils forced everything to the perimeter down the stretch.

"Winning is what it's all about, and we're spreading [the scoring] around," Lamoriello said. "We're getting overall balance and our fourth line (Dainius Zubrus, Jacob Josefson, Stephen Gionta) has played well."

Schneider was happy to play a part in Kinkaid's third win of the season.

"It's a tough injury, and we're hoping it's not too serious," Schneider said. "He's been a nice revelation for us, stepping in and playing so well. He was having a great one tonight. I was just hoping to preserve the win for him because I know he's taken some losses for me."

The Devils, who have won three straight, will play the fourth of a six-game homestand against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. They trail the Boston Bruins by eight points for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

"You never say 'never' until they tell you you're out," Schneider said. "I think you've seen it. We've played well in spurts and we have to take advantage of home ice, beat the teams we should. We're making plays and getting some scoring opportunities. It's tough to play on the road in this league, especially on back-to-back nights."

Devils defenseman Adam Larsson, who has four assists in the past two games, agreed.

"Of course we're thinking about qualifying," Larsson said. "We know we have a chance and are fighting for it. We have a lot of games left at home and we're playing some teams in front of us."

Ruutu redirected a slap shot from the point by Adam Larsson between the pads of Khudobin at 10:32 to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead. Scott Gomez got the secondary assist to move into a tie with Bobby Holik for fifth on the Devils all-time scoring list with 472 points. Gomez has 120 goals and 352 assists in seven seasons with the Devils.

Henrique scored his first goal in eight games at 12:05 when he picked up a loose puck along the right-wing boards and broke in 1-on-1 against Khudobin before flicking a shot between his pads. Greene then scored his first goal since March 20, 2014, a span of 70 games, when he finished off a pass from Jordin Tootoo in the slot with 28 seconds remaining in the first to give the Devils a 3-0 lead.

"I've had chances, but scoring is not something I'm terribly worried about," Greene said. "You want to score, but you just have to keep doing other things. I remember my last goal [against Minnesota in 2014]; when you don't score 30 goals a year, it's easy to remember."

"I was real happy to see Andy score," Larsson said. "He's been carrying me around for a while, so it's nice to see him get rewarded."

Although Lamoriello was happy to see Greene score his first goal of the season, it isn't something he is too concerned about.

"Scoring isn't something we worry about with Andy Greene," Lamoriello said. "It's what he and [Larsson] have done as a defense pair, playing against the top people each night."

Larsson led the team in ice time against the Hurricanes at 27:19, and Greene was second (26:18). They combined for two points, three hits, three blocked shots, two takeaways and a plus-6 rating.

Peters thought the biggest problem for the Hurricanes in the first period was puck management.

"It looks like some young guys either hit the wall mentally or physically," Peters said. "If it's physical, we'll make sure they get rest. If it's mental, we'll get them through it. Our [compete level] is not to the level we need to compete to win; it's not to the level we expect."

The Hurricanes (21-30-7) will return home for two games against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and Washington Capitals on Friday.

Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward will become the fifth active NHL goalie to play 500 games with his next start, which will likely come on home ice against the Flyers. Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller, Henrik Lundqvist and Marc-Andre Fleury are the others.


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