RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Martin Brodeur playfully asked what else he could have done for the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night, and coach Peter DeBoer had an idea.
"If he would've got in a fight, he would've done a little bit of everything for us," DeBoer said.
Brodeur scored his third career goal and made 17 saves in his first game in a month, leading New Jersey to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Brodeur had been out since Feb. 21 with a pinched nerve in his upper back and neck. New Jersey went 3-8-2 in his absence.
"You know him coming back, he's going to give you a boost," New Jersey's Travis Zajac said. "But he was just awesome today."
Peter Harrold, Adam Henrique and Andrei Loktionov also scored to help the Devils snap a three-game losing streak. Brodeur's play was the 13th time in NHL history that a goaltender was credited with a goal, according to the league.
Jeff Skinner had the Hurricanes' lone goal while Dan Ellis made 19 saves.
Carolina has dropped five in a row to fall from the top of the Southeast Division. The Hurricanes have been outscored 17-6 during that stretch.
Carolina and New Jersey began the night tied in the Eastern Conference standings with 32 points apiece.
"This is adversity for us," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "We addressed it after the last game — now let's see how we handle it. We're upset tonight about our performance."
Brodeur got credit for the game's first goal when Carolina's Jordan Staal passed the puck to the point from behind the net after a delayed penalty call against New Jersey's Marek Zidlicky.
The pass missed intended target Tim Gleason and bounced off the boards near center ice. Ellis had already skated toward the bench because of the delayed penalty and couldn't get back in time to prevent the puck from sliding into the net.
Because he was the last Devils player to touch the puck, Brodeur got credit for the score. With Carolina's Alexander Semin in the penalty box, it counted as a power-play goal.
"When the puck went in the net, I was like, 'Woah, what happened there?'" said Brodeur, who had been paying attention to what was going on in front of his net.