Devils host Flyers for Saturday matinee
FLYERS (15-6-3) at DEVILS (7-14-2)
MSG PLUS (HD) RADIO:
WFAN 660 AM
Philadelphia 6-2-2; New Jersey 4-5-1
Season series --
After winning five of the six meetings during the 2009-10 regular season, the Flyers needed just five games to dispose of the Devils in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring. The Devils' last victory over the Flyers occurred Dec. 12, 2009 when Patrik Elias
scored twice in a 4-1 victory in New Jersey. The Flyers outscored the Devils, 19-9, in the other five games. Three of the six games were decided by one goal. Both teams are coming off afternoon setbacks on Black Friday.
Big story --
The Flyers are searching for their sixth win in seven games. They had their five-game win streak snapped on Friday by the Calgary Flames, 3-2 via a shootout. It appeared as though Mike Richards had given the Flyers the victory 3:25 into overtime when his slap shot from the right circle entered the cage past Miikka Kiprusoff, but the goal was disallowed as Chris Pronger was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct in front of the net. Officials ruled Pronger obstructed Kiprusoff's view with his left glove. Despite the setback, the Flyers are 12-2-2 in their last 16 and have won six of 10 on the road this season.
After finally putting together their first two-game win streak of the season, the Devils dropped a 2-0 decision to the reeling Islanders on Friday as Rick DiPietro made 29 saves to snap his team's 14-game winless streak. The Devils have won three in a row on home ice, however, after starting the season 0-5-2 at Prudential Center. On top of that, Ilya Kovalchuk
regained some confidence in the shootout when he scored the only goal during the one-on-one session in a 2-1 triumph over Calgary on Wednesday. That made up for the miss in a shootout loss to the Sabres back on Nov. 10 when he failed to even get a shot off.
Philadelphia, which wraps up a stretch of 10 games in 17 days, is the NHL's highest-scoring team -- averaging 3.54 goals. Nine players have notched at least 10 points for the Flyers and eight have scored at least 5 goals. The fact the team is getting production from all four lines is a big reason for the offensive explosion through 24 games. Richards leads the team with 25 points, Claude Giroux is tops with 12 goals and Ville Leino owns a team-high 14 assists. The team's two big defensive acquisitions in the offseason, Sean O'Donnell and Andrej Meszaros, have a collective plus-32 rating, making them the most effective defensive pairing in the League in that category.
Who's hot --
After posting his first career two-point game against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, Flyers forward Andreas Nodl has 9 points (5 goals) in his last 11 games. The third-year forward has notched two more goals (six) than the Devils' Kovalchuk in seven fewer games. … Devils rookie wing Mattias Tedenby
has 2 goals, 4 points and a plus-5 rating in his last four games.
Injury report --
The Devils will be without goalie Martin Brodeur
(bruised elbow), forward Jamie Langenbrunner
(upper body) and defenseman Matt Taormina
(sprained left ankle). Langenbrunner (seven games missed) has begun skating on his own. … Flyers forward Dan Carcillo (sprained MCL, left knee), defenseman Matt Walker (right hip surgery) and goalie Michael Leighton (back surgery) are out.
Stat pack --
The Flyers have a League-leading six shorthanded goals, including three by Giroux, two by Richards and one by Nodl. No other team has more than four this season. Richards needs three more shorthanded goals to overtake Mark Howe (24) for fourth on the Flyers' all-time list.