Flyers hope for change against Brodeur-less Devils

Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 11:40 AM
John Kreiser  - NHL.com Columnist

The New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers don't have to go far to find each other -- they're all of about 75 miles apart.

Understandably, there's not a lot of love lost between the teams as they prepare for their Wednesday Night Rivalry matchup (NBCSN/TSN2). The game at Prudential Center in Newark is also the opener of a home-and-home series -- the teams meet again Friday at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers are still looking for their first win against their division rivals this season.

Here's a statistical look at this Rivalry Night matchup:

Nightmare in New Jersey: The trip up the New Jersey Turnpike used to be an easy win for the Flyers -- they won in seven of 10 visits during the first three seasons after the Colorado Rockies moved to New Jersey for the 1982-83 season. But those days are long gone. Since play resumed after the 2004-05 work stoppage, the Devils are 20-5-1 against the Flyers in New Jersey in the regular season, including a 12-5-1 mark since they moved to Prudential Center in the fall of 2007.

Won't miss Marty: Martin Brodeur is skating again, but there is no indication when his bad back will heal enough to allow him to get back into the Devils' net. Rest assured that the Flyers won't be sorry to miss him: Brodeur has a lifetime record of 47-30-6-3 against Philadelphia, including 2-0-0 this season and his 3-0 victory against them on Jan. 22 was his 10th career shutout against the Flyers, matching the most he's had against any rival. Brodeur also has his only regular-season goal against the Flyers. Brodeur's backup, Johan Hedberg, has had much less success against the Flyers -- he's 9-10-1 lifetime, though he's won five of eight decisions with New Jersey.

Struggling without Brodeur: The Flyers won't miss Brodeur, but the Devils do -- they haven't been the same team without him. New Jersey has lost seven of nine since Brodeur began to suffer from back soreness during warmups Feb. 24. They've yielded 3.8 goals per game in those nine games, compared with 2.2 in the first 17 -- 13 of which were played in by Brodeur. Hedberg was pulled twice last week and has a save percentage of just .855 since Brodeur went down.

Plenty of practice for Patrik: New Jersey forward Patrik Elias has played nearly a full season against the Flyers; this will be his 79th appearance against Philadelphia. He's done pretty well -- in 78 games, he has 33 goals and 45 assists for 78 points. That includes a goal and a pair of assists in a 5-3 win for New Jersey on Feb. 15. No active Flyer has more points against New Jersey while wearing the orange and black than Danny Briere's 25, including 14 goals.

Shootout nightmares: Flyers fans won't have a good feeling if the game is tied after overtime. Philadelphia has been among the least-successful teams in the NHL in shootouts -- their 23 wins are tied for the fewest among all 30 teams -- and the Devils are a big reason why. The teams have gone to a tiebreaker seven times since the shootout was implemented in 2005 -- and the Devils have won all seven. That includes a 5-0 mark in New Jersey and a 3-0 record at Prudential Center.

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