Marcus Johansson scored twice and a battered Keith Kinkaid made 32 saves and the New Jersey Devils prevented the Carolina Hurricanes from moving into a playoff spot with a 3-2 victory Sunday.
Nico Hischier set up all three goals to help the Devils snap the Hurricanes’ three-game winning streak and hand them only their fifth loss (13-5-1) in 19 games. Pavel Zacha also scored for the Devils.
Dougie Hamilton and Teuvo Teravainen scored for Carolina, and Petr Mrazek made 18 saves. The Hurricanes have missed the playoffs the last nine seasons.
The Hurricanes would have moved into the second wild-card spot ahead of idle Pittsburgh with a win.
This was a tough game for Kinkaid in more ways than stopping shots. He took a stick in the face from Jordan Martinook with 7:23 left in the second period, was bowled over by Justin Williams later in the period and was knocked over again in the third when Nino Niederreiter interfered with Devils defenseman Damon Severson.
Not only was Niederreiter penalized, the call nullified what would have been a tying goal by Sebastian Aho with 12:54 left.
Zacha and Johansson gave the Devils a 2-0 first-period lead.
Hamilton cut the gap to 2-1 in the second, but Johansson restored the two-goal margin at 15:56 of the third period. Teravainen scored on a power-play with 1:27 to play after Carolina pulled Mrazek.
NOTES: NHL MVP Taylor Hall of New Jersey missed his 19th straight game with a lower-body issue. Devils D Sami Vatanen missed fifth straight because of a concussion. … Hurricanes held New Jersey without a shot for the opening 13:56 of second period. Jesper Bratt got it breaking in on left wing.
Hurricanes: Finish five-game trip on Tuesday night at Ottawa.
Devils: Start three-game trip on Tuesday night at St. Louis.