The Philadelphia Flyers will have to figure out a way to beat New Jersey if they hope to match their longest winning streak of the season.
The Flyers will be trying to win their fifth straight game on Tuesday when they host a Devils team which has dominated them in recent seasons.
Philadelphia (26-15-5) has lost four straight against New Jersey by a combined 17-5 score since winning the first meeting this season. In their last 16 games against the Devils (27-17-3), the Flyers have gone 2-11-3.
Philadelphia has dropped 11 straight in New Jersey, but is 2-3-2 in its last seven home games against its Atlantic Division rival.
"They play a hard-nosed game when we face them, and for whatever reason we match that intensity," Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner said after his team won 3-0 in the last meeting on Jan. 4.
New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur made 36 saves in that game and earned his 40th win over the Flyers - his most against any opponent. Brodeur, tied with San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov for the league lead with 25 wins, has been sharp lately, allowing two or fewer goals in eight straight starts and 11 of 12.
However, Philadelphia enters this meeting on its longest winning streak since a five-game run Oct. 10-20. The Flyers have lost only once in regulation in its last 13 games, going 10-1-2.
"Right now depth is a big key to our success," said Scottie Upshall, who had two goals and an assist in Sunday's 6-1 win over Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa. "Our last 10 games we've had everyone except (Joffrey) Lupul healthy, and he's been a big part of our team."
Lupul has missed the last seven games and is out indefinitely after sustaining a mild concussion and spinal cord contusion at Toronto on Jan. 5. However, Philadelphia, which opened a six-game homestand Sunday, has hardly seemed to miss him, averaging 4.8 goals while winning seven of its last eight games.
The Flyers have scored a power-play goal in each of those eight games, going 15-for-40 with the man advantage. They are converting a league-best 25.0 percent of their power-play chances this season.
"We are getting contributions up and down our lineup," coach John Stevens told the Flyers' official Web site. "Special teams have been good, so a lot of things have come together at a critical time. Points we gain now are going to be important down the line."
Scott Hartnell, acquired in a June trade with Nashville, has been one of the keys to Philadelphia's recent surge, picking up 10 goals and four assists in his last seven games. He scored once against Ottawa a day after recording a hat trick against the New York Islanders.
"Hart's (Hartnell) been on fire lately, so to speak," Upshall said Sunday of his former Predators teammate. "Tonight he actually said, '(I feel) it's going to be my night tonight.' Being the good buddies that we are, it was a big win for us."
The Devils rebounded from back-to-back losses with Sunday's 3-2 win over Toronto. John Madden, who missed both of the defeats with an injured right ankle, returned to score two goals.
"He's great on faceoffs and in so many parts of the game," said Brodeur, who made 34 saves. "We're happy to have him back."
New Jersey won despite going 0-for-3 on the power play, and is now 0-for-15 with the man advantage over the last four games.
|Apr 04 '08||NJD 0 at PHI 3||R. Umberger|
|Mar 28 '08||PHI 4 at NJD 5 - SO||J. Langenbrunner|
|Jan 22 '08||NJD 7 at PHI 3||P. Elias|
|Jan 04 '08||PHI 0 at NJD 3||P. Martin|
|Dec 16 '07||PHI 2 at NJD 4||A. Asham|
|Nov 17 '07||NJD 6 at PHI 2||P. Elias|
|Nov 08 '07||PHI 1 at NJD 4||D. Zubrus|
|Oct 18 '07||NJD 0 at PHI 4||M. Richards|