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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Nico Hischier came flying out of the gates, setting the tone for his team, scoring just 32 seconds into the first period to give his Devils an early 1-0 lead. It was an early lead the team would never relinquish. Try as the Flyers might, but the Devils would not be outdone on their home turf. Hischier scored his second goal of the game, 2:48 into the third period with a wrist shot through the slot, to send the Flyers back down the Turnpike with nothing to show.

And that's just fine with the Devils. This was their home turf and they came to defend it.

"I've always have the team-first mentality, I just do whatever I can to help the team," Hischier said, "And tonight, big game and I knew I had to bring my A-game. I think I did that. I was really happy to help the team win."

In a matchup where the Devils coveted the two points against their Metropolitan division rivals, New Jersey keeps pace in the Wild Card race. New Jersey, backed by their captain, earned a 6-3 win against Philadelphia Flyers in front of over 70 thousand fans at MetLife Stadium.

With the two points on Saturday night, the Devils are just two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the second and final Wild Card spot. 

"That's a win that brings the group together," the captain said. "Everybody had this circled on the calendar. We knew it was a big game already in the beginning of the year and how the standings are it was even a bigger game. This can bring the group together."

Tyler Toffoli scored his 24th goal of the season, uncontested to Flyers goaltender Samuel Ersson's left and he made no mistake of his wrist shot, wired right behind Ersson for the Devils 2-0 lead.

As the two teams adjusted to the outdoor conditions, the Flyers put the Devils on their toes in the second with 24 shots on net. Owen Tippett scored two goals in the second for Philadelphia, but again, the Devils put another two up on Ersson, one by defenseman Brendan Smith and another by Nathan Bastian to double their lead, 4-2, heading into the final period. Bastian added the empty net goal with 1:45 to play for his second of the night.

Nico Daws, who faced 48 shots by the Flyers was fantastic in net, earning high praise from his head coach.

"There are times where your team needs the goaltender to step up, settle things down, make that save that gets the guys up on the bench," Lindy Ruff said, "I think what Nico did was kind of quiet things down. When you get the big saves and you’ve had that shift where you’re hemmed in your end and there are two or three plays around the net and your goaltender has made the saves, it’s almost as good as scoring a goal.”

The Devils defeat the Flyers 6-3 at MetLife.

Full Highlights: Devils 6, Flyers 3
Devils Post-Game Interviews: Daws | Smith | Haula | Nemec | Bastian & Hischier

Here are some observations from the game:

• You could tell early in the game that timing would be critical. The ice had a healthy amount of snow on it, carved out by the skates, the puck was moving much slower than players would be accustomed to. But that is all part of the beauty of the outdoor game experience, you're battling not only your opponent, but you're battling the elements as well.

Before the game, talking to Brendan Smith, a veteran of five outdoor games, he specifically mentioned how testing out the conditions will dictate the game style you'll need to play. Tonight, it was about simplicity. For a team that likes to play with pace, the puck wasn't moving at the same pace it normally would. It took much more to control the puck and the timing of passes needed to be adjusted.

• Nico Hischier's goal 32 seconds into the game was the second-fastest goal to start an NHL outdoor game. Only Colby Armstrong in 2008 with the Pittsburgh Penguins scored a faster goal, putting the Penguins up 1-0 against the Sabres just 21 seconds into the game.

• The total attendance at MetLife Stadium was 70,328. 

"We knew we had great fans," Hischier said, "But we didn't see too many Philly fans."

"The place was packed," Brendan Smith smiled, "It kind of threw me off a little bit, it was quite exciting. It was incredible and I don’t think enough gets said about our fans here and that showed it. That was on display. It meant a lot to us. They were our seventh man out there.”

• Jack Hughes has hit 50 points this season on the heels of a four-game point streak. His assist on Tyler Toffoli's goal was his fifth point in the past four games and his 33rd assist this season.

• Tyler Toffoli scored his fourth career outdoor game goal. While with the L.A. Kings Toffoli had a hat trick in the one other outdoor game he's played. He now is tied with David Pastrnak for the lead of goals scored by a player in an outdoor game.

• The Flyers tipped the ice in their favor in the second period with a 18 shots on goal in the first 11 minutes of the period and 24 total in the middle period and while they did have two goals to show for it, both by Owen Tippett, the Devils capitalized on two shots of their own, taking the 4-2 lead into the third period.

"There were some emotional shifts, you could say, in the second period," Ruff said, "We took advantage of a couple of plays that were late, you would give most of that second period to Philadelphia the way they played, how hard they played and the saves Nico (Daws) gave us. We made the plays that got us the lead and they fired back with the late goal, but take a breath.”

• Combined, the two goaltenders have just 79 games of NHL experience. Nico Daws was playing in his 37th career game, while Ersson was playing in his 42nd. With Daws 45 saves on 48 shots he is now tied for most saves in an outdoor game in league history.

The Devils are in Washington on Tuesday night to take on the Capitals. Puck drop is at 7:08 p.m. and can be heard on the Devils Hockey Network and watched on MSGSN.