The New Jersey Devils snapped their longest losing streak of the season with a win over an Atlantic Division rival. Now they hope to end their road skid with a victory over another.
The Devils try to avoid a fifth straight road loss when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
New Jersey (13-9-2) had been outscored 12-5 in four consecutive defeats to end a five-game road trip. The Devils returned home on Friday and finally halted their slide with a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring five or more goals for just the second time this season.
Jay Pandolfo scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and Patrik Elias had a goal and two assists, matching his season best with three points.
"I don't know if we just have a little more confidence at home," said Pandolfo, who has five points in the last two games. "We have to find a way to start playing better on the road."
The Devils are 9-1-1 at Continental Airlines Arena this season, but just 4-8-1 away from home. They're trying to avoid their first five-game road losing streak since March 12-April 15, 1992.
New Jersey has dropped five of its last six games in Philadelphia, but has won four in a row overall against the Flyers (8-15-3), outscoring them 16-5. The Devils won the only meeting this season - 3-2 on Oct. 14, thanks to Brian Gionta's third-period game-winner.
The right wing scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season Friday and has a seven-game points streak against the Flyers, with three goals and nine assists in that span. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who made 23 saves Friday to improve to 13-9-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average, has also played well against Philadelphia.
He is 30-19 with six ties and a 2.39 GAA in 55 career games against the Flyers. Assuming Brodeur starts, he will face a Philadelphia team that is just 3-7-3 at home this season, including just one win in its last eight games there.
The Flyers have won three of their last four overall games, however, including a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.
"We're playing much better hockey now," said Flyers captain Peter Forsberg, who has a four-game points streak against the Devils and 10 points in his last seven games against them. "We've just got to keep on building. We can see that we can win with this and we've got to make sure we keep on doing the right things."
Philadelphia defenseman Alexandre Picard assisted on power-play goals by Randy Robitaille and Mike Knuble on Thursday. Simon Gagne, who leads the Flyers with 14 goals and 22 points, added a shorthander in the win and has three goals and two assists in the last three games.
Philadelphia netminder Antero Niittymaki made 39 saves, improving to 6-11-3 with a 3.02 GAA this season.
The Flyers will likely continue to play short-handed as Joni Pitkanen (hip flexor) and Geoff Sanderson (back) are day-to-day and Mike Rathje (back) is out indefinitely.
These two teams meet again next Thursday at New Jersey.
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