NEWARK, N.J. – Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner each had a goal and an assist and New Jersey Devils showed they are over their late-season swoon with a dominating 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the opening game of their first-round playoffs series Wednesday night.

Defenseman Mike Mottau scored a rare goal late in the first period, Parise and Patrik Elias tallied in the second period and Langenbrunner added one in the third as New Jersey seemed to answer questions that surrounded it after a late six-game losing streak.

Martin Brodeur, who set the regular-season record for NHL career wins last month, came within 11 minutes of tying Patrick Roy’s record for career playoff shutouts at 23 before Ray Whitney scored on a rebound. Brodeur finished with 18 saves in winning for the 96th time in the postseason.

Coach Brent Sutter felt the team was OK after winning four of its final five, and the showing against the Hurricanes was more evidence of that.

The playoff appearance was the first for Carolina since they won the Stanley Cup in 2006, and the Hurricanes played as if they did not want to stay around long. Cam Ward kept them in the game, making 34 saves.

The Devils outshot the Hurricanes 15-7 in the first period but they didn’t score until Ward made a mistake. The goaltender, who posted a 19-7-2 mark in his final 28 starts, had control of the puck behind his net late in the period and elected to try to clear it himself off the sideboards.

Mottau, who had one goal in 80 games this season, intercepted the pass, and beat Ward with a shot from the right point with 3:57 left in the period. The defenseman was also a little lucky in getting his second career playoff in six games. Carolina forward Chad LaRose had a chance to nudge the puck away from him before he shot but he missed the opportunity.

Parise made a great individual effort in the opening minute of the second period to push the lead to 2-0. He fought through a check along by boards by Eric Staal, took a little pass from Travis Zajac and beat Ward to the far side with a shot from a bad angle.

Elias got his goal on a nice play by Brian Gionta. The little forward took the puck away from Rod Brind’Amour in the corner after Elias was stopped on a wraparound attempt, and then found Elias for a shot from the left circle.

The crowd of 17,625 started chanting “Cam Ward” repeatedly and then switched to “Marty is better” a couple of minutes later.

Whitney got Carolina on the board after Brodeur stopped LaRose in close. Parise whiffed on a wild swing to clear the puck and Whitney backhanded the puck into an open net at 9:22.

The Hurricanes didn’t get long to enjoy the goal. Langenbrunner took a pass from Parise 29 seconds later and blistered a shot past Ward.

Notes: Center Bobby Holik, who was signed after last year’s playoff debacle to provide leadership, was a healthy scratch for New Jersey. … Devils RW Brendan Shanahan was hit in the face on a shot by defenseman Colin White late in the first period. He returned in the second period. … Carolina was 6-of-17 on the power play against New Jersey in winning three of four in the regular season. They were 0-for-2 in Game 1, not getting the extra man until the start of the third period.

AP-ES-04-15-09 2202EDT

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.