Petr Sykora and Jason Arnott returned to the lineup and combined with linemate Patrik Elias for five goals and 11 points as the New Jersey Devils beat the Carolina Hurricanes 7-3 on Friday night.
"Everything just clicked from the first shift," said Sykora, who along with Elias had two goals apiece. "We were having fun. That was the most important thing. All three of us had the puck and we were helping each other. It's fun when the three guys are going like that."
Arnott, Alexander Mogilny and Pierre Dagenais each added a goal in the Devils' biggest offensive output since a 7-1 win over Philadelphia on Jan. 18.
Goaltender Martin Brodeur also took part, assisting on Arnott's goal. Brodeur made 26 saves and extended his streak of 30-or-more victories to six straight seasons.
Former Chicago Blackhawk Tony Esposito holds the NHL record of seven straight 30-win seasons, while Patrick Roy of Colorado and Jacques Plante turned in six. Roy's streak is current.
Jeff O'Neill, Martin Gelinas and Sandis Ozolinsh scored for Carolina, which remained tied with Boston for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have 18 games left in the regular season.
Arnott had missed six games with a back injury, while Sykora was out five with a shoulder injury.
The Devils, who had also been without Mogilny and defenseman Scott Niedermayer in recent weeks, had a 1-5-3 record before turning things around recently.
"When a team fights through adversity and gets some guys back, sometimes you see a letdown," said Scott Pellerin, who had two assists in his first game with Carolina. "Obviously, the players that came in gave them a boost. They really put it to us tonight."
Elias and Mogilny gave the Devils a 2-0 lead in the opening 6:11, and the Hurricanes, playing their second game in as many nights, never really recovered.
O'Neill scored midway through the first period to narrow the deficit to one, and Gelinas had a chance to tie the game early in the second period, but he failed to lift the puck over Brodeur with a backhander.
After that, the Devils took control in winning their third straight, their longest winning streak since taking four in a row in mid-January.
Mogilny stole the puck from defenseman Marek Malik behind the Carolina goal line and send a no-look pass to Dagenais in front for his third goal at 5:07 of the second period.
Arnott, Elias and Sykora did a great job of cycling the puck in the Hurricanes' zone minutes later, and Sykora converted a pass from Elias for a 4-1 lead at 8:12.
"I was a little off," said Hurricanes goaltender Arturs Irbe, who was lifted after giving up four goals on 20 shots. "We couldn't put our A-game on the ice. Our focus suffered a few times and we cannot afford to do that."
Carolina coach Paul Maurice screamed at his team after pulling Irbe and putting in Tyler Moss, but that didn't work either.
Elias scored all alone in front, on a nice pass by Mogilny, at 13:53 and Sykora scored on a breakaway at 16:47, a little more than a minute after Gelinas cut the gap to 5-2.
Arnott got the Devils' final goal in the third period on a shot that deflected off a Carolina defenseman. Mogilny's 33rd goal of the season also went in off a Hurricanes defenseman.
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