Devils look to rebound in Philadelphia
Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 10:03 AM
NHL.comDEVILS (4-5-1) at FLYERS (7-4-1)
MSG PLUS RADIO:
WFAN 660 AM
It's the second of six meetings this season and the first at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers spoiled the Devils' season-opener with a 3-0 win at Prudential Center on Oct. 8.
The Devils will give Martin Brodeur
the night off after his return on Wednesday, in which he was rusty in a 5-3 home loss to Toronto. Philadelphia has bounced back after last Thursday's 9-8 debacle against Winnipeg with two straight winning efforts, including a 3-2 victory in Buffalo on Wednesday.
Brodeur's return after missing nearly three weeks with a shoulder injury produced a highlight-reel save on NHL scoring leader Phil Kessel in the third period. Unfortunately for the future Hall of Famer and his teammates, it came after the Leafs had scored five times in the first two periods on the way to a 5-3 victory. Joffrey Lupul scored three times against Brodeur, including twice in the second period after New Jersey had tied the game three times.
Brodeur faced only 23 shots, but coach Peter DeBoer wasn't blaming his goaltender for the loss.
"Marty has worked his butt off to rehab and I didn't think we did a good job around him, supporting him considering the circumstances," DeBoer said. "We didn't give up a huge number of shots, but we gave up some quality chances. We left some people unchecked. Three goals should be enough for us to win a game and it wasn't."
One week ago, the Flyers' goaltending was in disarray after both starter Ilya Bryzgalov and backup Sergei Bobrovsky were torched in the loss to Winnipeg. But Bryzgalov, who said afterward that he had "lost his way," appears to have found it: He's allowed just three goals in back-to-back wins and made 29 saves -- including a pair of game-savers on Sabres' sniper Thomas Vanek in the final minute -- in Buffalo.
"You know, I just try and stop the puck," he said after making an early 3-0 lead stand up.
Devils forward Patrik Elias
scored a power-play goal against Toronto, giving him points in eight of New Jersey's 10 games. … Scott Hartnell's goal, which capped a three-goal surge in the first 6:23 and knocked out Sabres starter Ryan Miller, was his fifth in five games; he has 10 points in that span.
Devils forward Eric Boulton
may also be ready to play again after missing the last four games with a sore hand. … Flyers center Danny Briere and forward Matt Read sat out Wednesday with upper-body injuries, Defenseman Chris Pronger is on IR with an eye injury.
Before Wednesday, Brodeur hadn't surrendered three goals to one player since Minnesota's Marian Gaborik had a hat trick on Feb. 17, 2004. … Elias' power-play goal Wednesday was the 93rd of his career, breaking a tie with John MacLean for the most in franchise history.
Perhaps the lone consolation for the Devils on Wednesday was that Brodeur came out of the game confident that his injured shoulder was OK. His brilliant stop on Kessel was the same kind of play on which he was injured on Oct. 13.
"That was a good test for my shoulder," Brodeur said. "That's exactly the way I got hurt, so I was able to get up with no pain, nothing. I was happy about that, I had a little smile on my face. When I got up, I knew, 'OK, this is good.'
"It's always tough when you come back from an injury when you know you didn't fix it, you just rehabbed it. It's a lot different when you do a surgery. For me it was a big test to go through the game. I definitely would've liked a better result. I didn't play well at all, but at least I got my game under my belt and that was important for me."