After dropping the opening two games in Philadelphia, the Devils took a game they almost had to win by beating the Flyers 4-2 on Monday night behind two goals by Patrik Elias and three assists by Scott Gomez.
``We're back in it now,'' goaltender Martin Brodeur said after making 23 saves. ``Those guys were flying high and hopefully we put a little doubt in their minds.''
Rookie Paul Martin and Brian Gionta also scored as New Jersey cut the Flyers' lead in the best-of-7 series to 2-1. Game 4 also will be played at the Continental Airlines Arena on Wednesday night.
Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte scored for the Flyers, who twice blew one-goal leads.
The Devils, 0-for-7 on the power play in losing two 3-2 decisions in Philadelphia, scored three times on five extra-man chances to get back into the series.
``We didn't play anything different in the way we were going to forecheck or what we were going to do,'' Flyers center Keith Primeau said of their failures on the penalty kill. ``Maybe they were just more desperate on their special teams than we were.''
The Devils also had a little luck.
Elias' second goal went past Robert Esche off the hip of Flyers defenseman Kim Johnsson with 2:32 left in the second period, giving New Jersey a 3-2 lead. It marked the first time in the series the Devils were ahead.
``It hit the pants and deflected in,'' Johnsson said. ``It was bad luck. We have to bounce back and refocus on the fourth game.''
Elias said Johnsson was not the target of his shot from the top of the right circle.
``I got lucky with the shot,'' Elias said. ``It just went through there.''
Gionta, who had hit the goalpost with a shot from center ice minutes earlier, gave the Devils breathing room at the 7:00 mark of the third period, scoring a power-play goal right in front off a nice pass by Gomez from behind the net.
``We played hard and we're going to play hard the whole series,'' Roenick said. ``We're up against the Stanley Cup champions. We know they're going to keep coming hard at us.''
The Flyers, who converted two of their four power plays in the first two games, converted on two of their first three in twice taking the lead in Game 3.
Roenick put Philadelphia ahead 1-0 a little more than a minute after Martin was penalized for interference. After Brodeur stopped Johnsson's shot from the right circle, Roenick fluttered the rebound over the Devils goaltender.
The goal was originally credited to Amonte, who flicked his stick at the puck simultaneously with Roenick.
Elias tied the game early in the second period, putting a centering pass from Gomez into a virtually open net.
A giveaway by defenseman Scott Niedermayer behind his own net set up Amonte in close at 3:13. Martin scored on a scramble in front at 4:55 with New Jersey on a power play.
|PPG - Jeremy Roenick (2) ASST: Kim Johnsson (4), Alexei Zhamnov (3)|
1 - 0 PHI
|Patrik Elias (2) ASST: Scott Gomez (3), Brian Rafalski (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Tony Amonte (1) ASST: Jeremy Roenick (3), Alexei Zhamnov (4)|
2 - 1 PHI
|PPG - Paul Martin (1) ASST: Brian Gionta (2), Scott Gomez (4)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Patrik Elias (3) ASST: Tommy Albelin (1), Brian Gionta (3)|
3 - 2 NJD
|PPG - Brian Gionta (2) ASST: Scott Gomez (5), Paul Martin (1)|
4 - 2 NJD
|Paul Martin Interference against Mark Recchi|
|Marcus Ragnarsson Interference against John Madden|
|Jeff Friesen Hi-sticking against Branko Radivojevic|
|Jan Hrdina Hooking - Obstruction against Joni Pitkanen|
|Michal Handzus Interference against Turner Stevenson|
|Colin White Roughing against Donald Brashear|
|Scott Niedermayer Hi-sticking against Tony Amonte|
|Michal Handzus Hi-sticking against Colin White|
|Donald Brashear Interference on goalkeeper against Martin Brodeur|
|Alexei Zhamnov Hooking against Brian Gionta|