Devils come up short in Philadelphia
The Devils stumbled in their final regular-season meeting with the Flyers, dropping a 5-1 decision Sunday in Philadelphia.
Ilya Kovalchuk’s 39th of the season was all the Devils mustered against Brian Boucher, who made 32 saves for his sixth win of the season.
Ville Leino and Simon Gagne each had a goal and an assist, as the Flyers scored twice in each of the first two periods to grab a 4-0 lead. The Devils trailed in the opening minute after Matt Carle’s goal 53 seconds into the contest.
Kovalchuk broke up Boucher’s shutout with 9:40 left in regulation, blasting a one-timer from the slot off a feed from Brian Rolston
. That made it 4-1 before Gagne answered 32 seconds later. The Devils slipped to 1-4-1 in their last six road games.
allowed four goals on 19 shots, and was relieved by Yann Danis at the start of the third. Danis stopped five of six Flyers shots, allowing only Gagne’s tally.
The Devils (44-26-5) finished 1-4-1 in the season series with Philadelphia, falling five times to their division rivals for the first time since 1988-89 (2-5-0). Despite the setback, they remain two points behind Pittsburgh for first place in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand.
“Right from the start, they played a great game,” head coach Jacques Lemaire said of the Flyers. “Us, it looked like we were a little tired from last night. A little lack of energy, not as good with the puck. Not a lot of support on the ice. They got some goals, a couple of deflections. They got some goals from their defensemen, which helps.”
The special teams that had been excellent in Saturday’s 4-2 win at Montreal struggled in Philadelphia. The Devils went 0-for-5 on the power play on Sunday and misfired on four straight opportunities in the second. Only one night earlier, Jersey’s Team went 2-for-2 with the man advantage against the Canadiens.
Kimmo Timonen’s power-play goal in the second period was just the second that the Devils have allowed in their last eight outings (22-for-24). The PK was a perfect 4-for-4 in Montreal.
Lemaire said an intense game the night before can leave a team drained for the second half of a back to back.
“Always depends on what type of team you had the night before,” Lemaire explained. “We played a skating team in Montreal, and the game was fast. Then you come up against another team that skates well. Your energy is not where it should be and you don’t look as good.
Carle scored 53 seconds into the first period to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Scott Hartnell set up Carle’s fifth of the year, a wrist shot from the left circle that deflected off Brodeur’s catching glove. Leino put home Danny Briere’s cross-slot pass to make it 2-0 with his sixth of the season at 8:18.
Timmonen’s fifth of the season made it a three-goal deficit 45 seconds into the second. His shot from the left point found its way into the net with Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond
two seconds away from exiting the box for a high-sticking minor.
nearly put the Devils on the board with New Jersey's fifth power play. The captain spun a sharp-angle turnaround shot off the right post with 4:31 to go in the second.
just missed on a breakaway with 1:26 left in the second. David Clarkson
evaded a Flyers defender in the neutral zone to send Elias in on a breakaway, but the Devils’ all-time leading scorer was stopped trying to go five-hole on Boucher.
A bad break put the Devils down 4-0 in the final minute of the period. Lucas Krajicek’s shot from the point redirected off Travis Zajac
’s stick and past Brodeur with just 40 seconds to go. The goal was Krajicek’s first of the season.
Brodeur battled traffic and chances in front for the better part of two periods.
“We could’ve played better in front of him, there’s no doubt,” Lemaire said. “Little passes that we missed, guys left alone in the slot.”
Kovalchuk’s goal in the third extended his points streak to four games (3g-5a). Rolston (1g-2a) and Andy Greene
(3a) assisted, stretching their own points streaks to three games apiece.
The contest turned chippy late in the third. Letourneau-Leblond earned a win in his fight with ex-Devil Arron Asham. Clarkson tangled with Dan Carcillo, who was slapped with a five-minute major for cross-checking and a game misconduct. Clarkson was given minors for slashing and roughing.
Later, Dean McAmmond was cut by Bryce Salvador
's stick during a scrum that began with the Flyers running Kovalchuk with less than three minutes to go in regulation.
Parise appeared in his 400th career game. … Clarkson fought Ian Laperriere in the first period.
|Three star selections