NEWARK, New Jersey – It was nice to see things returning to normal at the Prudential Center last night as the New Jersey Devils put together a total team effort coming out with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
With a vicious fore-check and hard skating the Devils were able to continue their domination of the Flyers stretching back to last year’s playoffs. As the final horn blew the red sweaters began to crowd around team favorite Johan Hedberg with congratulatory head bumps. Hedberg played lights out last night coming up with 23 saves and giving up one early and one late goal.
With multi-point games by red-hot Patrik Elias, Adam Henrique, and Andrei Loktionov the Devils were able to put some cushion between themselves and the 8th seed NY Rangers.
Instead of giving up the first goal, the Devils were able to strike first just 2:02 into the opening period with a back hand shot by Elias off a no look, between the legs pass from Henrique beating Llya Bryzgalov for the 1-0 lead.
The next goal would be the first for Philadelphia and the last until desperation struck in the 3rd. Jakub Voracek was able to beat Hedberg on a beautiful flowing pass by Wayne Simmonds on the Ryan Carter tripping power play. Whatever momentum the Flyers had after the tying score was flattened at 8:21 by Adam Henrique firing off the right flank and banking a shot off the back of a sliding Flyer Matt Read giving NJ the 2-1 advantage.
Shortly after Devils sharpshooter Ilya Kovalchuk was able to slam home his 4th shorthanded goal of the season on a breakaway beating Bryzgalov on the high glove side. The Devils ended the 1st skating strong and confident with a 3-1 lead with shots 11-9 in favor of Philly.
The second period was graced with only one goal on a spectacular stop-and-shoot by Andrei Loktionov absolutely undressing a falling defenseman Braydon Coburn. Loktionov has been playing well with 4 goals and 3 assists in his first 12 games since be called up from Albany off the Feb 6 trade.
Come the 3rdperiod, Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell appeared to be the only Flyer running around and trying to create opportunities. A valiant effort but newly acquired Tom Kostopolous put an end to that at 9:20 giving a Scott Stevens-esk hit over the middle de-skating Hartnell.
Adam Henrique added to the Devils lead at 18:39 beating Bryz again on a rising back hand over the glove for his second of the night.
The game ended with shots being in favor of NJ 32-25 and a final score of 5-2. The Devils look to take this momentum into the Wells-Fargo Center on Friday night as this rivalry continues for the last meeting between these two franchises this season.
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