Mike Richards scored the go-ahead goal 3:37 into the third period and Claude Giroux and Danny Briere each had his team-leading 13th of the season as the Philadelphia Flyers snapped a three-game losing streak and rallied for a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
James van Riemsdyk and Jeff Carter also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 23 shots for the Flyers, who stayed two points behind Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division race. The Penguins won 7-2 at Columbus on Saturday night.
"It was good to finally win a tight game," Briere said. "Even though they have struggled this year, we always fight hard against each other."
Richards gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead, their first in two games against the Devils this season, when he redirected a Chris Pronger drive from the blue line past Hedberg. It was the captain's 10th goal of the season.
"I saw the initial release but it just found a hole," Hedberg said. "This was another big game for us to try to find our winning ways. It's not about lack of effort. Philly is a good team."
Briere added insurance at 8:07 when he got free of Devils defenseman Andy Greene, drove to the net and converted a pass from Carter, who was headed behind the left side of the net and dropped a pass for Briere to beat Hedberg inside the post.
That goal proved to be the game-winner when Patrik Elias scored a power-play goal with 44 seconds remaining. The Devils actually had a 6-on-4 advantage with Scott Hartnell off for tripping and Hedberg pulled for an extra attacker. It was New Jersey's second power-play goal of the game after it had managed just one of those on the road all season entering Saturday.
With Hedberg on the bench again, Carter scored his 12th goal into an empty net with 1.1 seconds left. About 10 seconds earlier, Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner and Richards each swung their sticks at an airborne puck sent out in front of the Flyers' net. Richards' stick hit Langenbrunner in the face, cutting him and drawing blood, but play continued.
"They definitely missed one," Devils coach John MacLean said. "Nothing you can do about it. What are you going to do? They're going to say no, and we're going to say yeah, and we'll watch the video and it'll bear out that they did miss one."
Similar to last Saturday, when the Flyers pumped 41 shots on Hedberg but managed just a Briere power-play goal during regulation and lost 2-1 in a shootout, they dominated in shots but found themselves chasing the Devils on the scoreboard in the early going.
Kovalchuk recorded his fifth goal of the season and second on the power play at 3:02 of the first period, 16 seconds after Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen was sent off for interference. He blasted a slap shot from the left point past Bobrovsky to open the scoring.
The deficit for the Flyers lasted all of 17 seconds before van Riemsdyk scored his fourth, but the Devils regained the lead before the opening 20 minutes were up. Langenbrunner, who also set up Kovalchuk's tally, drew the primary assist as Zajac wristed a shot from the right side of the net past Bobrovsky with 7:05 left in the first.
Giroux was able to score into a wide-open net 58 seconds into the middle period to draw the Flyers even again. Off a scramble in front, a shot by Darroll Powe hit the right post and caromed out into the slot. Hedberg had gone down at the post and could do nothing but watch as Giroux cleaned up on the rebound.
"It's a big part of our game, waiting at the net, jamming the corners, and getting some dirty goals," Carter said.
Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.