Devils blank Flyers in home opener
NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur made 24 saves, and the New Jersey Devils received goals from three players Tuesday on the way to a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers before an energetic 17,625 fans at Prudential Center.
Brodeur, 40, earned his first shutout of the 2012-13 campaign, 10th all-time against the Flyers and the 120th of his 19-season career. The Devils, who won their second game in as many outings, received goals from Travis Zajac, David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk to score a big two-point triumph over their Atlantic Division rival.
The loss is the third straight for the Flyers, who have led for 10:57 of 180 minutes spanning their three games this season. It marks the third time in franchise history the Flyers have opened a season with three successive losses.
Despite holding a 26-24 advantage in shots over the Flyers, the Devils were outplayed for long stretches of the game. Brodeur, who is seven games shy of 1,200 for his career, was there time and again to bail out his club.
Kovalchuk scored his first of the season at 2:44 of the second period on his fourth career penalty shot. After being pulled from behind by Kimmo Timonen during a clear breakaway attempt, the big Russian was given his opportunity against countryman Ilya Bryzgalov. Kovalchuk broke in on Bryzgalov and deposited his third career penalty-shot goal off a backhand over the goalie's right pad to give the home team a commanding 3-0 advantage.
The remainder of the period was highlighted by plenty of Philadelphia frustration.
During an offensive flurry on Brodeur 12:50 into the second, Wayne Simmonds delivered a mild cross-check to the Devils goalie. Brodeur fell to the ice, and Simmonds, expecting to get some attention, immediately tossed off his gloves and began throwing rights at Jacob Josefson before Ryan Carter stepped into the fray. Simmonds was whistled for goalie interference and a double minor for roughing.
That scuffle came a little over two minutes after Clarkson and Scott Hartnell exchanged pleasantries in front of the Devils bench after the New Jersey forward dumped Timonen to the ice in the neutral zone.
The third period included a pair of fights: Simmonds traded blows with Clarkson, and New Jersey's Steve Bernier squared off with Brayden Schenn.
The Devils opened a 1-0 lead 1:07 into the first period when Zajac connected off a rebound in the slot with Bryzgalov out of position. Kovalchuk sent a breakout pass to defenseman Bryce Salvador, who curled the Flyers cage and released a shot from the left circle that Bryzgalov could not handle. Zajac's goal, on his team's first shot of the game, was all Brodeur needed to secure the victory.
The Flyers settled down but couldn't solve the Devils netminder, who made nine saves in the opening 20 minutes. His best stop might have been on Hartnell at the 11:48 mark when the Flyers forward found himself alone in the slot but was denied by Brodeur's blocker. The Flyers also were foiled on two power-play attempts.
Clarkson extended the lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal with 24.9 seconds remaining in the first. Clarkson, who finished with a career-high 30 goals in 2011-12, scored his second in as many games this season off a wraparound attempt that ricocheted off the skate of Philadelphia's Ruslan Fedotenko in the crease and past Bryzgalov. The Flyers were noticeably upset that Clarkson wasn't penalized on the play. Just prior to his goal, Clarkson skated through the crease and knocked the stick out of the hands of Bryzgalov.
The Devils scored two goals on three shots in the first; the only missed attempt was off the stick of Patrik Elias.
|Three star selections