Martin Brodeur's first action in a month resulted in yet another NHL record for the future Hall of Famer.
Adam Henrique and Peter Harrold scored 46 seconds apart in the second period and Brodeur celebrated his return to the lineup with his record third career goal by a goaltender as the New Jersey Devils beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Thursday night.
"We got lucky on that one and we'll take it," said Brodeur, who came into the game with 25 NHL records to his credit and added two with the own goal. "We haven't gotten many breaks as of late, so this one was a big one."
Devils coach Peter DeBoer said, "If he would have gotten into a fight, he would have done a little bit of everything for us. Marty is our starting goaltender and the best of all time, so it's a big boost when he goes back in net. He was good."
The 40-year-old Brodeur, who missed 13 games with a neck injury, didn't have to work too hard to post his 38th career victory against the Hurricanes -- the most ever by a Carolina opponent -- facing just 18 shots.
The slumping Hurricanes, with just five goals in four previous games, managed three shots in the second period as Henrique scored his 10th goal of the season and Harrold his second to push a close game to a three-goal margin in less than a minute with 6:22 left in the period.
Carolina finished with just seven shots in the final 40 minutes and have now been outscored 17-6 in the last five games, drawing pointed comments from coach Kirk Muller after a second straight home loss.
"I'm not so much concerned about the scoring but how we play," Muller said. "It's time we don't piggyback off some of the guys who have been playing well all year. We need more effort from some guys.
"We came out and played well in the first, but we got outworked in the second. They took over and that's not going to work. We're all about accountability and some guys have to look in the mirror and get their game going and get the work boots on because that's what it's going to take. It's playoff hockey now; everything is cranked up, everything is harder and you've got to earn your space."
The Devils were 3-8-2 without the future Hall of Famer Brodeur in net but managed to remain in the playoff race despite being tied for 14th in the Eastern Conference in goals.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes continue to struggle on offense, losing their fifth straight (0-4-1) to fall out of the Southeast Division lead. Carolina also dropped to 7-8 on home ice.
"It definitely took a little gas out of me early, but after that the game was easier," Brodeur said of Carolina's early flurry in which the Hurricanes hit two posts. "I felt strong and I saw the puck real well.
"And playing the puck is a work in progress because it's hard to practice game situations, guys coming at you who really want to take the puck away from you. Later in the game, I made some great plays with the puck because I know they count on me to be there and move the puck for them and make plays."
Brodeur became the first goalie in NHL history to score three goals when he was credited with New Jersey's first score early in the first period, an own goal on a delayed penalty against Marek Zidlicky.
With the New Jersey defenseman called for hooking, Dan Ellis raced out of his net for an extra attacker, but Jordan Staal's pass to the left point eluded Tim Gleason, careened off the boards and down the length of the ice into the empty Carolina net.
Jeff Skinner spoiled Brodeur's shutout bid with a power-play goal with 8:33 left, his 10th goal of the season.
Carolina had beaten the Devils 6-3 less than two weeks ago at PNC Arena.
"This was a big two points for us from a confidence point of view," DeBoer said. "We haven't won on the road in a while and we've got to build on this when we go home. Carolina really comes out hard in the first periods. They blew us out of the water the last time here in the first period and we were down 3-0 before we knew it. We felt if we could survive early and get our legs we would be OK and that turned out to be the case."
NOTES: Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore, a sixth-round pick by Carolina in 2007, made his NHL debut. ... The last goalie to score before the Brodeur goal was Carolina's Cam Ward on Dec. 26, 2011, against the Devils. ... Brodeur's second goal in 2000 was also an own-goal and only game winner in NHL history by a netminder. ... Zach Boychuk, who was waived by the Hurricanes in early February and claimed by Pittsburgh and then Nashville, was reclaimed Thursday by Carolina and was a healthy scratch. Adam Hall now has jersey No. 18, so Boychuk will wear No. 32. ... Tuomo Ruutu, who returned to action for Carolina after missing the first 29 games following offseason hip surgery, logged minutes on the fourth line.