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Jagr, Devils Rally Past Hurricanes 5-2

Jaromir Jagr could always score goals — and on this night, a bunch of New Jersey Devils did as well.

Jaromir Jagr drives the puck against Carolina
Jaromir Jagr drives the puck against Carolina (Facebook)

Jagr had a goal and two assists, and the Devils scored four goals in the third period of a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.

Jagr’s goal with 3:29 left was the 692nd of his career, tying him with Steve Yzerman for eighth on the NHL’s all-time list.

In his previous game, he passed longtime Pittsburgh teammate Mario Lemieux.

Next up: Mark Messier at 694.

“I don’t really chase anything,” Jagr said. “I enjoy my teammates and my linemates. I enjoy the game, the way we play. Our line, I like the way our line played. When I’m happy about our game, I know the goals are going to come.

“That’s why I don’t really worry about it,” he added. “If there’s no chances to score goals, then I would start worrying about it.”

There certainly were plenty of them late in this game.

Adam Henrique scored the go-ahead goal on a power play with 7:58 left after Andrei Loktionov tied it with 11:17 remaining.

Dainius Zubrus then added a goal off a deflection and also had an assist, after Mark Fayne scored an early goal.

Eleven Devils showed up on the score sheet, and that helped them snap a three-game losing streak and match the season scoring high they set in a 5-0 win over Nashville on Nov. 10.

“I didn’t see (the big third period) coming,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “But I felt good about where our game was and our ability to get a couple of goals in the third period.”

Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal scored in the second period to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.

“This game’s all about consistency,” Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. “If you’re going to go out and not play 60 (minutes) and just a couple guys are passengers … you’re not going to win the majority of hockey games. And we didn’t have enough from a few guys and … a chain reaction, it costs you in other parts.”

Cory Schneider stopped 16 shots in his first start since Nov. 21 for New Jersey. Cam Ward made 26 saves in his fourth straight start for the Hurricanes.

The Devils trailed 2-1 entering the final period before the goals came in bunches.

“They wore us down late in the game,” Muller said, “and it cost us.”

Loktionov tied it with 11:17 left when his shot trickled past Ward. After a hooking penalty to Carolina’s Riley Nash, Henrique won an offensive-zone draw before chipping in the rebound of Eric Gelinas’ shot high past Ward to make it 3-2.

Zubrus then redirected a slap shot from Jon Merrill 1:50 later to put the Devils up by two goals. Jagr finished the scoring with his 36th career goal against the Carolina-Hartford franchise.

“You have to keep the faith,” Jagr said. “We just had to battle through it and hope Ward’s not going to make all the saves.”

That huge third came after the Hurricanes — who scored three goals in the second period of a 4-3 win over New Jersey two nights earlier — struck twice in the middle period on Friday.

Skinner tied it at 1-all 1:53 into the second when he whipped the rebound of Ryan Murphy’s shot past Schneider.

Then, after a melee in front of Ward created a 4-on-4 situation, Justin Faulk found Staal behind the Devils defensemen at the blue line. Staal beat Schneider low to his glove side on the breakaway that gave Carolina its first lead at 6:34.

That came after Fayne gave the Devils a 1-0 lead when he scored his first goal of the season with 1:40 left in the first. He fired a loose puck that beat a screened Ward high.

“I liked our game right from the drop of the puck,” DeBoer said. “I thought we had good energy, good legs. We created a lot of things. … We found our game again in the third.”

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