Flyers beat Devils in OT for home-and-home sweep
NEWARK, N.J. — There was a time earlier this season when the Philadelphia Flyers knew a two-goal deficit was tantamount to a loss.
Not anymore, and certainly not against the New Jersey Devils.
Simon Gagne scored at 3:27 of overtime and the Flyers rallied from a two-goal deficit against New Jersey for the second time in three days for a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
"I think it is a good test to show what we are made of, where this team has come from and where this team needs to get to," Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger
said. "We certainly don't want to make a habit of getting down 2-0 in games and hopefully, that will be the last. Like I said, you don't do this against the New Jersey Devils too often."
In both 3-2 wins, the Flyers tied it by the end of the second period and found a way to win. The victory Monday night came on a third-period goal by Mike Richards
This time, the Flyers overcame being outshot 7-1 in the third period and won when Gagne scored for the first time in 13 games.
Gagne had chances on a wraparound and a shot in close before beating Martin Brodeur with a shot from between the circles to give the Flyers a sweep of the home-and-home series.
"Gags had a heck of a shift and scored a really big goal for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It was a dominating shift. He was on the puck, dug it up again, made moves and dug it up again and made moves and finally got to a spot where he could let it go and he let it fly."
The shot hit off Brodeur's shoulder and went into the upper part of the net.
"It's been tough," Gagne said. "I've gotten some chances but I still haven't been able to score goals. The team needs goals to win hockey games. It's been on my mind the whole time -- this is definitely going to take that big monkey off my back."
and Aaron Asham also scored for the Flyers, who have beaten New Jersey fourth times in five meetings this season. Michael Leighton
made 21 saves.
"I think (the comebacks) go with how we have been playing, the turnaround," Carter said. "Earlier, down 2-0, we were done. When we were in that stretch it was tough. It is something that has built over time."
Travis Zajac and Rob Niedermayer scored for the Devils, while Brodeur made 13 saves. New Jersey has lost 11 of its last 15 games.
"Guys are not feeling confident about themselves," Brodeur said. "It's been a little tougher to get going both offensively and defensively. We're getting back bounces. We we're going to get out of it. It's just a matter of time. We have two more games before the break and we need that little push."
With both teams already in Newark, a winter storm that dumped a least a foot of snow could not prevent the game from going on, attracting an announced crowd of 5,580 that looked smaller.
Zajac and Niedermayer gave the crowd something to cheer about early with somewhat flukey goals in the opening 8:01. only to see Asham and Carter tie the game with goals in the first and second periods.
Leighton gave Zajac a gift 18th goal of the season 45 seconds after the opening faceoff when he let a routine shot from the top of the left circle dribble through his pads and roll ever-so-slowly into the net.
Niedermayer threw a pass in front from along the goal line at the 8-minute mark and the puck hit off Leighton, deflected into the skates of Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen
and into the net.
Asham, a former Devil, got the Flyers on the board less than a minute later when his shot from the right faceoff circle deflected off New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene and zipped past Brodeur.
nearly tied it with 5 minutes left in the first period, but Brodeur made a diving glove save on the goal line to prevent his tap-in from going into the net. The play was reviewed and videotape didn't help Hartnell.
Carter, whose hit on Anssi Salmela on Monday gave the Devils' defenseman a concussion, tied the game with about 6 minutes left in the second period. Danny Briere
sent a cross-ice pass entering the Devils zone and Carter got his 24th of the season with a shot from the left circle.
Devils and U.S. Olympic forward Zach Parise missed his first game of the season with an undisclosed upper-body injury. He expects to play Friday and plans to play in the Vancouver Games.
Notes: The presentation of colors by the Marines was delayed about a minute because the tip of the pole bearing the U.S. flag got caught up in the netting used to protect fans from errant shots. ... Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador appeared to be hit in the face in the first period. He did not return. The team said it was an upper-body injury. ... Claude Giroux
assisted on Asham's goal. He has one goal and six assists in six career games against the Devils. ... Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said the team is still awaiting word from an MRI on goalie Ray Emery's hip. ... Jeff Carter
was told to go to Vancouver as a potential replacement for Ryan Getzlaf, who has an ankle sprain as Team Canada prepares for the Olympics.
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