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Flyers vs Devils - 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Semifinals

Penalties in opener stalled Devils' momentum

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- It isn't so much the failure to kill penalties as it is taking those unnecessary minors at critical stages of the game that has suddenly been problematic for the New Jersey Devils during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It's something that has to change if the club has any visions of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Devils only allowed one power-play goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of their conference semifinal round game on Sunday, but were also forced to kill off five other penalties.

"We'll kill some penalties, but it's tough because it breaks the momentum of games sometimes," goalie Martin Brodeur told the media prior to boarding a bus to travel back to Philadelphia on Monday afternoon. The Devils will play the Flyers in Game 2 on Tuesday.

"We talked about it, and we know they are hot on the power play," Brodeur said. "And we gave them six opportunities … that's a little too much."

The Devils are seventh among the eight remaining teams in the postseason with 39 minor penalties -- only the Flyers have more (42).

"The penalties have been an ongoing issue the entire playoffs," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "There is a heightened awareness on some of the calls that guys aren't used to, and we're still managing finding that line. But we have to stay out of the box.

Flyers' power play off to slow start in second round

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- In the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers were led by their special teams play, especially a power play that set a franchise record with 12 goals in a series.

Making it even more impressive was the Flyers accomplished that against a team ranked third in the League on the penalty kill in the regular season.

In Game 1 of the conference semifinals against the New Jersey Devils, though, they went 1-for-6 on the power play, and managed just eight shots.

Flyers survive slow start

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers coach Peter Laviolette had spent seven days being asked pretty much the same question -- how his team would handle a long layoff -- and had pretty much the same answer each time.

"That question got asked a lot this week, what's going to happen, how are you going to be after the layoff," he said. "I answered, 'I don't know,' because the truth of the matter is you don't really know. You don't know if your team is going to come out and be jumping or whether it's going to take a bit."

"A bit," turned into the entire first period, as the Flyers didn't get their first shot until 9:59 was left in the first period. By then, the New Jersey Devils had put 11 pucks on Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and had taken a 1-0 lead in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

Van Riemsdyk sparks Flyers in Game 1

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- James van Riemsdyk might have been one of the most dominant players in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring seven goals in 11 games. He was so good, he finished tied for ninth goals without playing past the second round.

James van Riemsdyk
Left Wing - PHI
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 1
SOG: 5 | +/-: 3
After an injury-plagued 2011-12 season, that player finally made his reappearance.

Van Riemsdyk had a goal, was a plus-3, took a team-high five shots on net and set the screen on Danny Briere's overtime goal that allowed the Flyers to take a 1-0 series lead against the New Jersey Devils with a 4-3 victory Sunday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

After his dominant turn in last year's playoffs, van Riemsdyk signed a six-year contract extension in August. However, he missed time early in the season with a lower-body injury, and then missed a month with a concussion suffered Jan. 12. He returned to play six games when he broke his foot blocking a shot March 1. Subsequent surgery kept him out for seven weeks, until Game 5 of the Flyers' first-round series against the Penguins.

Kovalchuk held without a shot in Game 1

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The last time Ilya Kovalchuk was held without a shot in a game was five months ago.

Ilya Kovalchuk
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 6
SOG: 25 | +/-: -5
The New Jersey Devils were able to overcome that stunning scenario, however, in a 2-1 overtime decision against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 23, 2011.

In Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal contest against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, the Devils weren't able to seal the deal this time around in overtime. The Flyers scored a 4-3 victory in a game where Kovalchuk was held without a shot in 21:20 of ice time.

Flyers create havoc in front of Brodeur

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- It was painfully apparent to New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur that the Philadelphia Flyers are prepared to do whatever it takes to get him off his game.

To his credit, the future Hall of Fame goalie was up to the challenge entering Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series on Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.

"They go around the net a lot and spent a lot more time in our zone than the [Florida] Panthers did [in the first round] so it was certainly physically more challenging for me in this game than in the other games I've played in the playoffs," Brodeur told reporters following his team's 4-3 overtime loss.

Not only did the Flyers create traffic and congestion in front of Brodeur whenever the opportunity presented itself, but they also forced the opposition to block the sight lines for the 39-year-old goalie.

Flyers still have plenty of respect for Brodeur

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The guy in the opposition net is a little slower, a little bigger and a week away from his 40th birthday. In the regular season he won just six more games than he lost, had only the 15th-best goals-against average and a save percentage that ranked 34th among the 45 qualifying goalies.

Some even have dared to whisper that he might not even be the best goalie on his own team.

But at the end of the day, he's still Martin Brodeur, a certain Hall of Famer, the winningest goalie in NHL history and a three-time Stanley Cup champion who has beaten the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals on the way to two of those Cups.

Flyers expecting whole new look to second round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

"I can't imagine an 8-5 game or a 10-3 game coming up in this one. We're going to have to sacrifice, play great defense. [Ilya Bryzgalov] is going to have to be terrific. We have to keep on going with that power play, and five-on-five we have to score some goals." -- Scott Hartnell

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Like so many other hockey fans on the East Coast, several of the Flyers players were up early Friday morning watching the double-overtime thriller taking place between the Devils and Panthers in South Florida.

The Flyers, though, were watching for an entirely different reason than the rest of the hockey community. They knew the next goal would decide if they would have to hop on a flight to Fort Lauderdale to start the Eastern Conference Semifinals, or stay home and get ready to play their New Jersey Turnpike rivals for the fifth time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Devils rookie Adam Henrique provided the answer with his goal 3:47 in to the second overtime. Roughly four and a half days after finishing off the Penguins in Game 6, the Flyers finally knew the identity of their next opponent.

Bryzgalov dazzled against Devils in regular season

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Often what happens in the regular season absolutely has no bearing on what could happen in a playoff series. The Flyers are hoping goalie Ilya Bryzgalov bucks that trend against the Devils in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Bryzgalov was one shot away from being perfect against New Jersey in the regular season. He faced 76 shots and made 75 saves over 209 minutes of action in four games, shutting out the Devils twice in three starts. His goals-against average against New Jersey was an astonishing 0.29 and his save percentage was a remarkable .987.

"That's always reassuring when your goalie feels good against certain teams," Flyers center Danny Briere said. "Matchups are sometimes very key in the playoffs depending on how you feel against certain opponents. That Bryz has played good all year (against the Devils), that's a big plus."

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