Devils host Flyers to open home-and-home
FLYERS (39-21-7) at DEVILS (39-24-5)
MSG PLUS RADIO:
WFAN 660 AM
Philadelphia 7-3-0, New Jersey 5-4-1.
This is the fifth of six meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals this season. The road team has won the previous four games. The clubs will close out their season series on Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Two teams jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference playoff race prepare to do battle in Newark in the first of a home-and-home set. The Flyers currently sit fifth in the East with 85 points in 67 games and the Devils are sixth with 83 points in 68 contests. The Devils are 4-1-0 in their last five games and have allowed just four goals over that span. The Flyers have won six of their last seven while allowing 10 goals over that stretch. Philadelphia leads the conference with 22 road victories this season.
Ilya Bryzgalov notched his third shutout in four games and fifth this season on Saturday in a 1-0 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Bryzgalov, who made 29 saves in regulation and overtime, also denied Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski and Phil Kessel in the tie-breaker. Bryzgalov also turned back Kessel off a breakaway attempt in the overtime. Claude Giroux scored a hightlight-reel goal in the second round of the shootout to give Philadelphia the triumph. Bryzgalov's five shutouts this season are the most by a goaltender in his first season with the Flyers since 2000-01, when Roman Cechmanek had 10.
The Devils completed a sweep of their home-and-home series with the New York Islanders after rallying for a 2-1 victory on Saturday. David Clarkson
and Marek Zidlicky
scored goals in the final two minutes of the third period as New Jersey overcame a 1-0 deficit. Clarkson's goal came with 1:39 remaining before Zidlicky connected for a power-play goal with Islanders' forward PA Parenteau in the box for boarding just 14 seconds later.
Bryzgalov is 8-3 in his last 11 starts, with a 0.97 goals-against average, .963 save percentage and four shutouts. … Since the All-Star break, Devils wing Ilya Kovalchuk
has 10 goals and 28 points in 20 games.
The Devils are without Travis Zajac
(Achilles) and Henrik Tallinder
(blood clot). … The Flyers will be without defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros due to lower-body injuries. Forward James van Riemsdyk is out 4-6 weeks following foot surgery and Jacob Voracek (head) is doubtful.
The Flyers have received a League-high 49 goals from first-year players in 2011-12, including 19 from Matt Read (20 assists). He trails Devils center Adam Henrique
(15 goals, 30 assists) by six points in the rookie scoring race.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer on Ilya Kovalchuk
: "This guy has shown up to work every night for us this year."