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Flyers vs Devils - 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Semifinals

Devils coach rooting for OT in Caps-Rangers Game 7

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer will be watching Game 7 Saturday between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals very closely, and will be rooting for one thing.


"The longer the better," he told reporters Friday.

DeBoer elected to give his team a full day off Friday as the Devils await their opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals, which will start Monday.

"I don't think there's such a thing as too much rest this time of year," DeBoer said. "We have to stay sharp. That's [the coaches'] job, to manage the schedule and days off so we're ready to go Game 1. That's on the coaching staff to manage it properly. I wouldn't want to trade spots with someone playing a Game 7 right now."

Jagr not ready to decide NHL future yet

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The 2011-12 season was a renaissance for Jaromir Jagr, as the future Hall of Famer returned to the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers after a three-year sojourn in Russia to show that even at age 40, he still can be a top-line performer.

Whether the comeback lasts another season, however, is unknown.

Jagr, who turned 40 in February, had 19 goals and 35 assists in 73 games, and both Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell credited his presence alongside them on the Flyers' first line as a major reason each had career seasons that included appearances in the NHL All-Star Game.

Off the ice, Jagr's impact was just as tremendous, as numerous teammates raved about his work ethic and relentlessly positive personality having an infectious influence on the rest of the roster.

Five reasons the Flyers' hopes came crashing down

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

In the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it looked like the Philadelphia Flyers could do no wrong. Their offense attacked in waves, their power play was unstoppable, their defense was poised and they were able to frustrate the Pittsburgh Penguins to the point that they took numerous penalties and even saw three players suspended for actions in the same game.

The Flyers suddenly had the look of an Eastern Conference favorite. And then just as quickly as the accolades arrived, they disappeared as the New Jersey Devils dismantled the Flyers over five games in the conference semifinals.

So how did the Flyers go from potential Stanley Cup champions to preparing to empty their lockers? Here are five reasons:

Parise savors first trip to Conference Finals

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise is headed to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in his career.

Zach Parise
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 8
SOG: 51 | +/-: 1
It might have taken seven seasons, but for the 27-year-old Parise, it was certainly worth the wait.

"This feels really good," Parise said after the Devils advanced by beating Philadelphia 3-1 on Tuesday night to wrap up a five-game series victory. "I don't think there are too many people out there that expected us to be where we are right now. We always thought we could make it here, but you have to have things go right for you and you have to be lucky at the right times and [on Tuesday], we got a lucky bounce on [David Clarkson's] goal, so it was a good sign."
For a player who traditionally pours his heart and soul into every shift when he takes the ice, it's certainly a well-deserved achievement, as it is for a smattering of veterans who have been there and done that, including Stanley Cup winners Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora.

Bryzgalov's first Philly season ends in disappointment

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- After a 2011 postseason that saw them start three different goaltenders in the first round and was capped by getting swept in the second round, the Philadelphia Flyers focused their massive summer roster overhaul on bringing in a franchise goalie.

Ilya Bryzgalov
Goalie - PHI
GAA: 3.46 | SVP: 0.887
They signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million contract to fill that role, but the result nearly was the same -- another second-round playoff exit. Bryzgalov's season was marked by record-setting highs and bizarre lows, with the final game of his first season serving as a 60-minute recap.

Bryzgalov turned aside 27 of 30 shots Tuesday night and looked strong in making a number of those saves. But a pair of bad bounces -- one he had little control over, another of his own making -- is what people will remember.

Kovalchuk continues to silence the critics

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Ilya Kovalchuk was all smiles as he began answering the countless questions that came at him in rapid fire long after the New Jersey Devils had just eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center.

Ilya Kovalchuk
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 12
SOG: 35 | +/-: -3
He talked about the excitement of advancing to the conference finals and playing with the team that made it all happen. Kovalchuk did, however, give a few lingering reporters an idea of what exactly he had endured prior to this marvelous run he is now experiencing in his third season in New Jersey.

"For the first time in nine years, I'm not going to the World Championship, so it's fun," the 29-year-old Russian said.

For Kovalchuk, that about sums up a career that had been incomplete -- until this season.

Rangers or Caps are up next for Devils

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Ilya Kovalchuk
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 12
SOG: 35 | +/-: -3

For the first time in nearly a decade, the New Jersey Devils are headed back to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Devils finished off an impressive five-game series victory against Philadelphia on Tuesday night when they beat the Flyers 3-1 at Wells Fargo Center. New Jersey last reached Round 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs back in 2003, when the Devils won their last Stanley Cup.

"It seems forever for a lot of guys but, for me it is nine years," said goalie Martin Brodeur, who turned 40 on Sunday and has been in the net for all three of the franchise's Stanley Cups. "It's tough to do that. I think we're fortunate to have made it there so far and we're looking forward to it.

Flyers expect to 'compete like crazy' in star's absence

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- How do the Philadelphia Flyers replace the League's leading scorer in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

It's a similar question to the one the Pittsburgh Penguins asked themselves prior to Game 4 of their first-round series against the Flyers, when they had to weather the loss of top-line force James Neal; and the one the New Jersey Devils had to ask themselves heading into Game 2 of this series, when they had to survive the injury absence of star forward Ilya Kovalchuk.

Both times, those teams rallied around their missing star for victories. With their season on the line heading into Game 5 against the Devils on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC), the Flyers know they have to do the same thing.

Devils expect Flyers to rally around loss of Giroux

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- It was only a week ago that the New Jersey Devils rallied for a stirring three-goal victory at Wells Fargo Center without the services of injured star Ilya Kovalchuk in their lineup.

The win ignited a three-game winning streak that now has the Devils in complete control of their Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Flyers.

In Game 5 on Tuesday back in Philadelphia (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC), New Jersey is determined to make certain history doesn't repeat itself.

Devils defense not flashy, but it's getting job done

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer would be the first to tell you that defensemen aren't paid to score goals. They are paid to defend.

And that's a good thing, because entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs not one New Jersey blueliner cracked the top 78 players at the position in scoring. The highest, in fact, was Marek Zidlicky, who was acquired from the Minnesota Wild in a February trade. His 22 points in 63 games ranked 79th in the League.

New Jersey might not have the flashiest of skaters on defense, but boy do the Devils get the job done in front of goalie Martin Brodeur. It's not too far-fetched to claim the synergy they exert along the blue line would rival that of any other team left in the playoffs.

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