(Newark, NJ) – Martin Brodeur made 36 saves as the Devils extended the Flyers’ struggles in New Jersey, as well as put an end to their three-game winning streak, with a 3-0 victory at the Prudential Center on Friday night.
With the loss, Philadelphia fell to 0-3 at the new home of the Devils, and it was also the 11th straight loss overall for the club in New Jersey.
A series of events in the first period with the Devils already leading 1-0 was a key turning point in the hockey game.
Philadelphia went on its third straight power play of the period and, despite not scoring, was applying good pressure on Brodeur. An early whistle by referee Kerry Fraser with the Flyers buzzing around the New Jersey goal crease nullified a scoring chance, and then Joffrey Lupul was curiously called for unsportsmanlike conduct after lifting the loose puck towards the net.
Joffrey Lupul tries to get through New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus (left) and Patrik Elias. (Getty Images)
The Devils took a 2-0 lead during the four-on-four when Braydon Coburn lost his footing and Travis Zajac went in on Martin Biron untouched and fired a wrist shot past the glove hand of the Philadelphia goaltender at 17:31.
“We had some self-inflicted wounds,” said Stevens. “We just gave them a goal there, falling down and the puck ends up in our own net and then [we] started chasing the game.”
New Jersey increased its lead to 3-0 with a power play goal in the second period when Patrik Elias scored on a bouncing puck in front of the crease after Jamie Langenbrunner had thrown it towards the net from the point. Philadelphia applied good pressure for the remainder of the game, but it was already decided by that point.
“They seem to be a very opportunistic team, especially when we play them in their building,” said Lupul, who registered four shots on goal. “We had plenty of chances to score tonight. We did some things well offensively but it’s tough against team with that goalie when you get down.”
Despite the run of futility in North Jersey, Stevens doesn’t mind coming to Newark as he still searches for his first win here as the Flyers’ head coach.
“I love coming in here with the challenge of trying to beat the Devils,” he said. “As a competitive athlete and a competitive hockey team, these are challenges we have to look forward to. Obviously, we have to find ways to overcome the lack of success that we’ve had here.”
Paul Martin’s first period goal at 9:41 opened the scoring when he skated the puck from the corner and lifted it into an open net. Biron was down on the ice and unable to get over in time after getting run into by New Jersey’s Dainius Zubrus.
“I got tangled with somebody and I thought it was one of their guys but Kerry Fraser said that he got pushed by one of our guys,” explained Biron, who pleaded his case to the referee after the goal.
Philadelphia continues to battle injury problems, as Simon Gagne, Scottie Upshall and Jason Smith all missed the game with various ailments. Randy Jones returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with a knee injury.
The Flyers continue their six-game road swing on Saturday night in Toronto (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). They are 3-3-1 in the second of back-to-back games this season.
“That’s the good thing about hockey, is we don’t have to wait a week and we can get back at it tomorrow night,” said Mike Richards.
The teams have three meetings remaining in the regular season, with the next coming on January 22 at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers are 1-4 against New Jersey this season, with their only win coming at home in the first meeting on October 18, 4-0. … Philadelphia fell to 2-1-0 on its road trip. … Center Jim Dowd and defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick cleared waivers at noon on Friday, but were both scratched. Steve Downie and Stefan Ruzicka both played in the game after being recalled earlier in the week from the Phantoms. … The Flyers fell to 5-3-2 when outshooting their opponent.
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1 - 0 NJD
2 - 0 NJD
3 - 0 NJD
Too many men/ice - bench