Martin Brodeur and the Devils faced a potent Flyers attack on Friday night.
newjerseydevils.com (April 4) – Martin Brodeur did everything he could, and then some.
An outstanding effort by Brodeur was the only thing standing between the Devils and a much more lopsided outcome than their 3-0 loss to the Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Friday night.
Brodeur made 30 saves in the first two periods to keep the Devils within striking distance after 40 minutes. But two Philadelphia goals in a span of 37 seconds broke the contest open in the third before Brodeur was relieved by backup Kevin Weekes.
Martin Biron stopped 22 shots, including 10 in the final frame, for his second shutout against the Devils this season. New Jersey, meanwhile, was blanked for the 11th time.
The loss snapped the Devils' three-game winning streak and ended their run of six straight victories against the Flyers in the season series (6-2-0). Each of their last three wins have come via overtime or the shootout.
New Jersey last won in regulation nine games ago, with a 4-2 decision at Colorado on March 15.
Since suffering a 4-0 shutout loss in the series opener on Oct. 18, the Devils had outscored the Flyers 28-12 to roll off six in a row against Philadelphia, which clinched a playoff berth with Carolina's loss to Florida.
Now the Devils' regular season finale against the Rangers at Prudential Center on Sunday determines who gets the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
New Jersey needs just one point in Sunday's game to clinch fourth. The Rangers gained one point in their shootout loss to the Islanders and sit one back of the Devils, who have 97.
The Devils fell behind in the first period on R.J. Umberger's 13th of the season.
Umberger's tally at 5:44 was the only blemish on Brodeur's line through 40 minutes. Brodeur stood tall as the Devils were outshot 14-6 in the opening frame, and 17-6 in the second. Despite a 31-12 disadvantage in the shots column, the Devils' goaltender had his team within a goal of the Flyers going into the third.
New Jersey had chances to get on the board in the scoreless second period, but couldn't capitalize. Four Flyer penalties in the middle frame handed the Devils a 37-second 4-on-3 and a 21 second 5-on-3. They would finish the game 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
In the third, Scottie Upshall and Joffrey Lupul scored 4-on-4 goals 37 seconds apart to make it a three-goal difference.
Upshall's 13th developed after Patrik Elias won a defensive zone draw that turned into a Flyers' possession. Jeff Carter from the right corner fed Upshall at the hash marks for a one-timer that eluded Brodeur at 11:16.
It was quickly 3-0 after Mike Richards' pass from the left wing found a wide-open Lupul in front of the Devils' net for his 20th on a tap-in at 11:53.
Brodeur, making his 40th straight start, was then relieved by Weekes, and finished the night with 33 saves. It was the third time in eight games that Brodeur split duties with Weekes, who made his ninth appearance.
Weekes recorded one stop over the final 8:07 of the contest.
Karel Rachunek (sore neck) missed his third straight game... Bryce Salvador remained sidelined with a sore foot and missed his ninth straight contest.
1 - 0 PHI
2 - 0 PHI
3 - 0 PHI
Delaying Game-Puck over glass