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The Philadelphia Flyers might not be able to overtake the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Atlantic Division, but a victory over the second-best team in the Eastern Conference could further help their playoff position.
Accomplishing that feat won't be easy for the Flyers, who look to avoid a fourth straight loss to the visiting Devils on Monday night.
Philadelphia (39-22-10) won 3-1 at Pittsburgh on Sunday to move two points ahead of the Penguins for fourth place in the East and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Flyers have three games in hand on Pittsburgh.
"It's the regular season; the playoffs are a different beast," said the Flyers' Martin Biron, who made 27 saves Sunday. "We were tight in the standings, so this was a big game."
The Flyers, who have won two straight since losing three of four, are nine points behind division-leading New Jersey (47-22-3) with 11 games remaining. The Devils are second in the East and five points behind conference-leader Boston after falling 4-1 on the road to the Bruins on Sunday.
"It's a big game, but we move forward," said New Jersey coach Brent Sutter, whose team is 3-5-0 on the road since winning seven in a row away from home.
Facing Philadelphia might help the Devils bounce back from their recent loss and give them some confidence on the road.
New Jersey is 3-1-1 against the Flyers this season, including 1-0-1 at the Wachovia Center, where both games went to overtime.
The Devils won 3-0 at home over the Flyers on March 1 in the teams' most recent contest. Martin Brodeur made 27 saves for his second shutout since returning from elbow surgery. He's likely to be in goal for this contest after making 26 saves Sunday and allowing a pair of goals that deflected off his teammates.
"We made a couple of mistakes," said Brodeur, who is 9-2-0 since returning from biceps surgery. "Even though they were some lucky goals, it was still opportunities that we gave up that usually we don't do."
Brodeur is 15-4-2 with a 2.05 goals-against average this season, including 1-1-1 with a 2.61 GAA against the Flyers.
New Jersey's Zach Parise has three goals and five assists against Philadelphia this season and assisted on Andy Greene's goal Sunday to extend his point streak to eight games. He has three goals and eight assists during that span.
Philadelphia used a pair of power-play goals to help beat the Penguins. Simon Gagne scored his 29th and Scott Hartnell added to his career season with his 27th for the Flyers, who won 6-4 at Buffalo on Friday.
"Obviously, (the power play) was big," said Philadelphia coach John Stevens, whose team is 4 for 10 with the man advantage in their last two contests.
Gagne has three goals in his last four games, but just one in five against New Jersey this season. Hartnell, meanwhile, has three goals and one assist versus the Devils in 2008-09.
Biron is 24-15-5 with a 2.73 GAA and 2-1-1 with a 2.68 GAA against New Jersey this season, but has allowed six goals in his last two starts versus the Devils.