April 20, 2009 / 6:13 AM / 10 years ago

Zajac nets overtime winner to lift Devils over Canes

* Devils regain series lead with overtime win

New Jersey Devils' Travis Zajac (R) scores the game-winning goal against Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward during Game 1 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final hockey game in Raleigh, North Carolina April 19, 2009. REUTERS/Ellen Ozier

* Flyers enjoy return to home ice

* Vancouver and Anaheim continue to win in West

By Gene Cherry

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Travis Zajac scored almost five minutes into overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, the win helping the visitors retake the lead in their playoff series.

Zach Parise assisted on Zajac’s goal after he opened the scoring for the third-seeded Devils, who lost at home to Carolina in overtime on Friday but moved 2-1 ahead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final with the road win.

In the day’s other Eastern Conference playoff, the Flyers found home ice much more to their liking with a 6-3 victory after two losses in Pittsburgh, Simon Gagne scoring twice to reduce Philadelphia’s deficit to 2-1.

In the West, third-seeded Vancouver took a 3-0 series lead over St Louis with a 3-2 road victory and Anaheim won again at top-seeded San Jose, this time by a 3-2 margin.

In Raleigh, the Devils ended a streak of five consecutive overtime playoff losses to the Hurricanes with Zajac’s second-chance shot.

“It (the puck) came right back to me and I was able to get it up,” Zajac told reporters.

On the first attempt, “(Carolina netminder Cam) Ward made a really good save on Travis’ first shot,” Parise said.

But Zajac was able to send the rebound to the top corner of the net.

BIG SAVES

New Jersey, playing without injured captain Jamie Langenbrunner, never trailed in the game with Carolina twice rallying to tie the contest

Parise gave the Devils a 1-0 lead 6:04 into the first period with the Hurricanes pulling level on Ryan Bayda’s goal 31 seconds later.

Brian Gionta put New Jersey in front again with less than nine seconds remaining in the first period before Chad LaRose delivered the equalizer with 4:20 to play in the second.

Martin Brodeur made 28 saves for the victory.

“We had some good looks and he made some big saves in the third period and a couple in overtime,” Carolina’s Eric Staal said.

Ward had 32 stops for Carolina, who host Game Four on Tuesday.

In Philadelphia, the Flyers scored three consecutive goals after the Penguins rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the score. Claude Giroux delivered the go-ahead score.

Evgeni Malkin scored twice for Pittsburgh but the Flyers held Sidney Crosby to two assists. Game Four is in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

In St Louis, Steve Bernier scored the game-winner on a power-play just 1:41 into the third period and Vancouver can claim the series with a fourth straight win on Tuesday.

Slideshow (3 Images)

In San Jose, third-period goals by Andrew Ebbett and Drew Miller gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead with less than seven minutes remaining.

However, Jonathan Cheechoo brought San Jose to within a goal 37 seconds after Miller’s score but Jonas Hiller, who made 42 saves, was able to keep the Sharks out for the remainder of the game.

Anaheim takes its 2-0 lead home for Game Three on Tuesday.

Editing by John O'Brien; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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