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Hurricanes beat woeful Devils, end season with six straight wins

Apr 28, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck (16) checks New Jersey Devils defenseman Nikita Okhotiuk (82) during the first period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Jesperi Kotkaniemi provided a goal and two assists in his return from an injury-related absence and the Carolina Hurricanes used a makeshift lineup to conclude the regular season in style by defeating the New Jersey Devils 6-3 on Thursday night at Raleigh, N.C.

Ethan Bear and Martin Necas tallied goals 49 seconds apart in the first period and Teuvo Teravainen, Steven Lorentz and Jordan Martinook also had goals in Carolina’s sixth consecutive victory.

The Hurricanes (54-20-8, 116 points) increased their single-season franchise record for wins and points just two nights after sealing the Metropolitan Division championship. They will open the playoffs with a pair of home games next week against a to-be-determined opponent.

Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta made 27 saves to boost his record to 7-0-1 all-time against New Jersey.

New Jersey (27-45-9, 63 points) lost its fifth game in a row (0-3-2) despite a first-period goal from Fabian Zetterlund, third-period goals from Jesper Bratt and Jimmy Vesey and two assists from Pavel Zacha. Devils goalie Andrew Hammond made 24 saves.

Kotkaniemi, a center, had sat out the past five games and appeared in just two games in the past month because of injuries.

Bear and Necas notched goals in a 49-second span in the game’s first six minutes. Kotkaniemi had assists on the first two goals before posting his 12th goal of the season at 12:53 of the opening period. Kotkaniemi secured the first three-point game of his 237-game NHL career.

Zetterlund’s second goal of his career in his 13th game came 62 seconds after the Devils found themselves in a 3-0 hole.

Teravainen restored the three-goal cushion with a blast from the high slot with 2:33 left in the second period.

The Hurricanes rested regulars Jordan Staal, Andrei Svechnikov and Jaccob Slavin, while right winger Jesper Fast and defenseman Brady Skjei played in all 82 regular-season games.

The Devils conclude their season Friday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings.

–Field Level Media