(Newark, NJ) – The Devils couldn’t hold off a late third period comeback, but rallied to score on all three attempts in a shootout to put an end to their five-game winless skid and defeat the Flyers by score of 5-4 at the Prudential Center on Friday night.
The loss also brings an end to Philadelphia’s four-game winning streak, however the Flyers do earn a point in the standings, which brings their mark to 39-28-11 for 89 points and allows them to jump ahead of the Boston Bruins for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Flyers have now earned a point in the standings in 15 of their last 19 games (9-4-6) and sit just two points back of the New York Rangers in sixth place, three points back of Ottawa for fifth place, and despite the loss tonight, are only four points back of the Devils for the fourth seed and home ice advantage in the first round.
“It’s certainly a good sign to be able to battle back twice on the road against the Devils, who like to shut it down with Marty [Brodeur] in net,” said Head Coach John Stevens of his team’s effort. “It’s a very important point and to be down late like we were, kill off a penalty and still find a way to get back and get the game tied was big for us.”
Having won their previous two games that were decided by a shootout, the Flyers received goals from Jeff Carter and Danny Briere, while Mike Richards beat Brodeur on his attempt but did not find the back of the net as the shot rang off the post.
The Devils countered with goals from all three shooters, including captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who sealed the win with the third and final shot.
“I actually thought I made that save on Langenbrunner on the last one,” commented Biron. “It caught my glove in a weird way and just bounced around… Its tough, but you take the whole 65 minutes, I think this team has to be happy with getting away with a point because we battled back.”
The Flyers late comeback was boosted by the return of Randy Jones, who scored on a shot from the point that fooled Brodeur and found its way over his glove to knot the score at three apiece.
Mike Knuble helped the Flyers battle back for a second time after a goal from Brian Gionta gave the Devils a 4-3 lead late in the third period.
On the receiving end of a no-look pass from behind the net by Mike Richards, Knuble scored his 28th goal of the year with 56 seconds left in regulation to knot the score back at 4-4 and force overtime and the eventual shootout.
“Mike [Richards] made a great play and Jeff [Carter] kept the battle going on the sideboards,” said Knuble. “I don’t know if my stick hit one of the other players stick, but I got enough on it and it went in.”
Both Jones and Knuble recorded assists to give them two-point nights, while Jim Dowd and Vaclav Prospal also provided goals in the contest for the Flyers.
Prospal recorded the Flyers’ first goal of the evening after taking a between-the-legs pass from Danny Briere. Briere and Prospal have now connected to record at least one point in each of their last five games.
The Devils received two goals on the night by defenseman Johnny Oduya, who has seven points (1G,6A) in seven games against the Flyers this season.
The Flyers look to get back into the win column tomorrow night when they face off against the New York Islanders in Uniondale (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet), in the second-half of their back-to-back games this weekend.
The last time the Flyers won at New Jersey was March 9, 2004, 3-1… In his return to the lineup after missing the previous six games due to hip flexor injury, Jones dropped the gloves with Devils defenseman Mike Mottau at 5:20 of the first period. ... Briere extended his point-streak to five games (4G,3A) and has posted at least a point in 11 of his last 12 games…Vaclav Prospal extended his point-streak to five games (3G,4A) and has scored in nine of his last 11 games (3G,8A)… The Flyers' record when scoring the first goal of the game is 27-6-7.
- - -
1 - 0 PHI
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NJD
3 - 1 NJD
3 - 2 NJD
3 - 3 Tie
4 - 3 NJD