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Flyers-Devils Preview

Thursday, 04.13.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Flyers-Devils Preview
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The New Jersey Devils look to tie a season high with their ninth straight win and move into a fifth-place tie with the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference when the teams meet at Continental Airlines Arena.

New Jersey clinched its ninth consecutive playoff berth with a 4-3 overtime win over Carolina on Tuesday night to remain two points behind the Flyers going into Thursday's contest.

The Devils and Flyers meet again Sunday in the second-to-last game of the season for the Atlantic Division rivals.

In addition to trying to hold off the Devils, the Flyers are focused on trying to catch the division-leading Rangers, and those teams meet Saturday afternoon at the Wachovia Center. Philadelphia, three points behind New York, must win its final four games and beat the Rangers in regulation to win the Atlantic and secure the third seed in the playoffs. The Rangers have only three games left.

While the Flyers have a crucial game the day before Sunday's matchup with the Devils, New Jersey will have had two days off to prepare to face Philadelphia again.

The Devils, who won nine in a row from Jan. 3-21, moved within a victory of matching that streak by beating Carolina on Tuesday night. Brian Gionta scored a power-play goal 28 seconds into the extra period to lift New Jersey.

"I tell you what, if there is any team we've had that deserves to get into the playoffs, and we've had some great ones, (it's) this team," Devils coach Lou Lamoriello said.

Gionta's 45th goal moved him within one of Pat Verbeek's franchise-record total, set in 1987-88, and extended his point streak to 12 games. Gionta has nine goals and eight assists in that span.

Martin Brodeur made 37 saves to become the first goaltender in NHL history to win 40 games in five seasons. Brodeur has compiled a 2.10 goals-against average in starting every game during the Devils' winning streak.

Brodeur is 27-19-0 with six ties and a 2.45 GAA against the Flyers in his career.

Philadelphia is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games and is coming off a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Jeff Carter scored the game-winner on the power play at 13:28 of the third and Joni Pitkanen had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who led 3-1 entering the final period before the Penguins rallied to tie.

"It's a big win for us because we have a chance to win the division," Pitkanen said. "We've had a tough time at home. Maybe we feel a little more pressure."

Flyers center Peter Forsberg sat out for the third straight game with a nagging groin injury. Forsberg skated with the team Wednesday and said he would be a game-time decision Thursday. He has 74 points, including a team-high 55 assists.

"We're not going to put him in unless he's 100 percent," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "If he's 100 percent after today, we'll probably let him go at it. But if he's not, then we will wait until Saturday."

The Devils are 24-8-0 with four ties against the Flyers at home since the beginning of the 1991-92 season.

STANDINGS: Flyers - 97 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Atlantic Division. Devils - 95 points, 3rd place, 5 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flyers - Simon Gagne, 45 goals and 77 points; Forsberg, 55 assists; Donald Brashear, 152 PIM. Devils - Gionta, 45 goals and 81 points; Scott Gomez, 47 assists; Jason Wiemer, 94 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Flyers - Power play: 18.1 percent (78 for 432), 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.7 percent (351 for 446), 27th. Devils - Power play: 17.9 percent (76 for 425), 18th. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (278 for 340), 18th.

GOALTENDERS: Flyers - Robert Esche (21-9-5, 1 SO, 2.94 GAA); Antero Niittymaki (22-15-6, 2, 3.01). Devils - Brodeur (40-23-7, 5, 2.61); Scott Clemmensen (3-4-2, 3.35).

SEASON SERIES: 3-3.

LAST MEETING: April 1; Devils, 4-1. At Philadelphia, Brodeur made 33 saves to move into sole possession of fourth place on the career wins list with 438.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flyers - 22-11-5 on the road; Devils - 25-11-3 at home.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 76 21 55 7 76
C. Giroux 75 23 46 2 69
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 76 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 76 13 17 1 30
M. Del Zotto 58 9 20 -5 29
M. Read 74 7 22 -7 29
M. Raffl 61 20 6 7 26
V. Lecavalier 52 7 11 -10 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 15 17 11 .927 2.24
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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