NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Surrounded by reporters Tuesday morning, New Jersey Devils coach John Hynes stressed that his team must possess "offensive accountability."
Evidently, David Schlemko took his coach's message to heart.
Schlemko's tiebreaking goal with 3:05 left in the third period propelled the Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
"Just how we drew it up: Put it in the corner and throw it off their guy. Lucky bounce, but sometimes you need that to find a way to win and we'll take it," Schlemko said.
The goal was Schlemko's fourth this season and the 13th of his NHL career.
"Look at the play; good things happen when you do the right things," Hynes said. "We talked about taking more shots and David shoots and it went in. We did the right things on that play."
Bobby Farnham and Kyle Palmieri also scored for New Jersey, and Keith Kinkaid stopped 26 shots.
Eric Staal scored twice and Kris Versteeg had two assists for the Hurricanes. Cam Ward made 21 saves.
Carolina trails the New York Rangers by nine points for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
"This one definitely hurt us," Staal said.
With the score tied 2-all, Schlemko fired a shot from the half wall that eluded Ward for the go-ahead goal.
"I don't know if I looked up and misplayed it or it just bounced off the top of my blade, but I was thinking at least get the puck towards the net," Schlemko said. "You never know what can happen, and got a nice bounce."
Staal opened the scoring 2:51 into the second period with his sixth of the season. Farnham, just activated from injured reserve, tied it at 6:06 with his fourth in 20 games.
Staal scored his second of the period at 9:46. He began the sequence by forcing Andy Greene's turnover along the half wall. Versteeg won a board battle, leading to Staal tucking a shot from behind the goal line past Kinkaid.
"That's the way it works," Carolina coach Bill Peters said of Staal's two-goal performance. "He's been doing all the little things right and lots of chances — that line has lots of chances — and tonight they get a couple. I'm sure they'll continue to score."
Palmieri tied it at 7:14 of the third by tipping Jon Merrill's point shot past Ward. Peters used his coach's challenge, but the ruling was upheld. Replays showed Palmieri did not make contact with Ward as he stood at the top of the crease.
Carolina and New Jersey played for the second time in three days, and the third time in December. The teams will play twice more this season, March 1 in Newark and March 27 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"They were better than they were when we played them at home," Staal said.
NOTES: Before the game, New Jersey announced Patrik Elias had been placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 21, with a knee injury. Elias, the club's career leader in goals (407), assists (615), points (1,022), power-play goals (113) and game-winning goals (80), has one goal and four assists in 13 games this season. He needs to play in 47 more games to pass Ken Daneyko to become the Devils' all-time leader in games played with 1,284. ... Carolina scratched Michal Jordan and Brad Malone. ... Eric Gelinas and Jacob Josefson were scratched by the Devils. New Jersey wing Tuomo Ruutu missed the game due to illness.