The New Jersey Devils are headed to the Stanley Cup playoffs, easily clinching a berth Saturday with a 5-0 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
David Clarkson's power-play goal late in the first period gave the Devils a 1-0 lead, and New Jersey scored three times in the second on goals by Ilya Kovalchuk, Bryan Carter and Petr Sykora. When Zach Parise walked in uncontested early in the third, it was 5-0.
That made for an easy night for Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who has had some tough games in PNC Arena in the past. Brodeur picked up his 119th career shutout -- and eighth against Carolina -- with 22 saves as the Devils were sharp defensively.
"They're a good team but they sort of walked all over us," Canes forward Jeff Skinner said. "It was kind of embarrassing, I think."
Asked about the Canes' effort in the game, Skinner said, "I don't think there was any."
The Canes (31-32-16), eliminated from playoff contention Friday in an overtime loss to Winnipeg. went with Brian Boucher in net. Boucher, who missed 43 games with a groin injury, was making just his second start since Dec. 3.
"I felt good, but I felt they just kept coming in waves," Boucher said. "It was a difficult game for me. They've got some guys who are shooters.
"What are you going to do? I tried to be in position most of the night but it's tough to hold the fort that long."
The Devils (45-28-6) began the second period with power-play time and did not score, but Kovalchuk soon ripped an open shot from the slot for a 2-0 lead. Carter knocked in a shot off the rush for a 3-0 lead, and Sykora made it 4-0 late in the period with a quick shot after a Devils' faceoff win.
Clarkson scored after Skinner was called for an interference penalty with 42.4 seconds remaining in the first. After being hounded by defenseman Anton Volchenkov in the offensive zone, Skinner skated after and planted Volchenkov into the boards with a retaliation move.
Clarkson scored his 30th of the season with 21.5 seconds left in the first, and Skinner, who has had some composure issues this season, then incurred another penalty after leaving the penalty box -- an unsportsmanlike conduct call. The Devils will start the second period with 1:38 of power-play time.
Skinner said after the game he could not comment on the penalties. He said emotions were high after his encounter with Volchenkov and the retaliatory hit "wasn't a good play."
Both goaltenders were sharp in the first, although Boucher saw a lot more work than Brodeur. Boucher faced 17 shots and Brodeur 7.
The Canes had two of their four power plays in the first period. They moved the puck well on the first and had two or three good scoring chances -- Skinner couldn't get his stick on a loose puck at the post -- but were less productive on the second.