The Carolina Hurricanes used a five-goal second-period offensive outburst to dominate the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in game 5.
The win gives the Canes a commanding 3-1 series lead, with a chance to close out the Devils on Thursday night in Raleigh. Carolina forward Jordan Martinook had his fourth straight multi-point game.
The Carolina Hurricanes put the Devils in win-now mode.
Hurricanes dominate the second period
Carolina scored five goals in a matter of 12 minutes to blow this game wide open. Five different goal-scorers found the back of the net to put a stranglehold on the game and possibly the series.
The Devils had no answers for the scoring barrage they faced as goaltender Vitek Vanecek was chased from the net and replaced by Akira Schmid. Vanecek did what he could but could not stop the ambush of scoring chances by the Hurricanes. Martin Necas, Brett Pesce, Jesper Fast, Brent Burns, and Martinook scored to put Carolina up for good.
The Hurricanes skated around the New Jersey defense like they were pylons. The Devils had no one back when they coughed up the puck and it costs them big time. Head coach Lindy Ruff needs a different game plan because what they have done so far in this series has not worked.
The Devils had too many turnovers
Turnovers cost the Devils this game, and this happened too much at this time of the year. New Jersey recorded 26, yes 26, turnovers in game 4. No single player was given a plus in the +/- category. The entire Devils roster was an even or a minus in this wild affair.
Defenseman Brendan Smith, in the lineup for injured Ryan Graves, had four turnovers himself. There is plenty to clear up in the defensive zone for game 5. The pressure of the Canes forecheck led to most of these turnovers, causing New Jersey to act before thinking while having the puck.
Carolina’s transition game hurt the Devils
It would be unusual to put in a different system or scheme to get things going, but Ruff may be out of ideas to save the season. In the series so far, the transition game of the Canes has been unstoppable. New Jersey has been unsuccessful in trying to slow down the potent offense of Carolina and does not seem to have an answer.
The speed with which the Carolina Hurricanes have operated in all three zones is why they are now up 3-1 in the series. New Jersey is promised one more game to figure this out as this could be the last game of the season for New Jersey.