(Philadelphia, PA, April 5) – Jim Dowd scored a shorthanded, third period goal to break a 2-2 tie as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Thursday night, 3-2. Martin Brodeur made 34 saves in recording his 48th victory of the year to set a new single-season NHL record, eclipsing Flyers legend Bernie Parent's mark.
Philadelphia went on the power play at 7:42 of the third period when Scott Gomez was whistled for hooking. The Devils took advantage of a miscue by Philadelphia in their own zone, however, and raced ahead on a two-on-one rush. Sergei Brylin passed through the slot to Dowd, who lifted the puck high over Martin Biron for the game-winner at 8:46.
"Those soft plays in the middle of the ice are unacceptable and ended up costing us the hockey game. It was an opportunity to go ahead and we ended up going behind," said John Stevens.
"That was a self-inflicted wound and it ended up costing us the hockey game."
New Jersey clinched the Atlantic Division as well as the second seed in the Eastern Conference with the victory, but the bigger story was Brodeur surpassing Parent.
"I understand that shootouts are on the goalie's side now, but this is part of it. I wish that anyone that ever looks at the record has to mention Bernie Parent and his effort with a shorter season and no shootouts, still having 47 wins," said Brodeur.
"The only thing that I can control is when I played," said Parent before the game. "As a team we ended up with 47 wins. That has been [the record] for a number of years and it was not one individual effort, it's a team effort when you win 47 games. Having said that, I also want to say that Martin is the best goalie in the league right now as far as I am concerned."
Each team scored once in the first and added another in the second to make it 2-2 at the second intermission.
Philadelphia took a 2-1 lead on Simon Gagne's 39th goal of the season. Alexandre Picard fired a slap shot from the point that was deflected out of midair by Gagne at 9:27 to give the Flyers their second lead of the game.
The Devils responded again, though, on a similar goal. Brylin got a piece of his stick on a slap shot by Andy Greene on the power play at 14:31, tying the game.
For the Flyers, the game marked the return of forward Scottie Upshall, who missed seven of the last eight games with an upper body injury. Upshall made his presence felt right away in creating the first goal of the game just 65 seconds after the faceoff. His wraparound attempt was stuffed at the side of the net by Brodeur, but the puck popped out to Jeff Carter who lifted it inside the far post for his 14th goal of the season.
Jamie Langenbrunner made it a 1-1 game with a power play goal with 3:03 left in the first, when his slap shot beat Biron who was screened by Mike Rupp.
New Jersey was 2-for-6 with the man advantage while the Flyers went 0-for-4.
Another notable addition to the Philadelphia lineup was Ryan Parent. The rookie defenseman, who was acquired by the club on February 15 as part of the Peter Forsberg deal, made his NHL debut. He took the place of Joni Pitkanen, who missed the game with the flu.
Philadelphia has two games remaining in the season, both at home. On Saturday, the Flyers host the New York Islanders while on Sunday the Buffalo Sabres visit the Wachovia Center. Both games begin at 1:00 p.m.
FLYERS NOTES Mike Richards (left shoulder separation) Denis Gauthier (sprained right wrist) and Randy Jones (mild shoulder sprain) all remained out of the lineup. … Philadelphia finished 1-4-3 against New Jersey in the season series.