Goaltender Cam Ward was a big reason why the Carolina Hurricanes held on to beat the New Jersey Devils in the first meeting of a home-and-home series between these new Metropolitan Division rivals.
Martin Brodeur lost again for New Jersey, and Cory Schneider is upset that he isn't getting more chances to help the Devils.
Carolina looks to win three in a row for the first time this season and hand the visiting Devils a fourth straight defeat Friday night.
The Hurricanes (10-10-5) took a 4-1 lead into the third period Wednesday in New Jersey before Andy Greene scored to pull the Devils (9-11-5) closer. New Jersey had a great opportunity to get within one with 2:33 left as it had six skaters on the ice, but Ward made a sweeping glove save as Adam Henrique took a shot at an open net.
"It was a mad scramble in front of the net, and with them having the extra attacker, it's hard to play the numbers, and their guy got alone and fortunately I made the glove save," Ward told the NHL's official website. "It was funny to see the reaction because I think everyone thought it went in, and quietly inside I knew it was in my glove."
Jaromir Jagr scored with 1:47 left and the Devils pulled Brodeur with 93 seconds remaining, but they couldn't find the equalizer. Jagr's goal was the 691st of his career, moving him past former Pittsburgh teammate Mario Lemieux for ninth place in NHL history.
"That's great," Devils coach Pete DeBoer told the league's site. "He's been a bright spot all year and has received personal records and accolades, but I know he's more concerned about the wins. It's a great accomplishment for a great player and a great guy."
Ward made his fourth start since missing nearly a month with a lower-body injury, and he's won the last two. Brodeur, meanwhile, has been in net for each game of the Devils' skid.
That scenario has Schneider "frustrated," as he told reporters after learning at Wednesday's morning skate that Brodeur would start again.
"Yes, I'm surprised," said Schneider, who is 1-1-1 in his last three starts despite posting a 0.97 goals-against average. "I'm trying to work and do what I can, but I'd like to see the ice a little bit more."
Carolina ended a six-game road losing streak Wednesday and now returns home, where it's 5-1-1 in its last seven.
"We know these are big divisional opponents that are important points in our division," Ward said.
Brodeur can't solely be blamed for New Jersey's recent struggles. He allowed two goals in each of the first two games of the losing streak, and the Devils have scored seven times in the past four.
Jagr, who is one goal behind Steve Yzerman for eighth place all-time, said New Jersey can take a lesson from how Carolina played in the opener of this set.
"They were blocking all night long. We just have to find a way to get through that, just like they did," he told the NHL's site. "They don't hold the puck ... their defensemen shoot right away. You don't always have to shoot to score, but just shoot to get it on net. They scored three goals like that."