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Devils Tie Game Late, Win in Overtime

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Philadelphia, PA, February 1) – Peter Forsberg had a goal and two assists and Alexandre Picard added five assists, but it was not enough as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime on Thursday night at the Wachovia Center, 6-5.

Philadelphia took a 5-4 third period lead on Forsberg's 10th goal of the season. On the play, Mike Knuble had his shot blocked but it went right to a streaking Forsberg who lifted it over Martin Brodeur with a backhand with 4:10 left in regulation.

The Devils responded and tied the game with 32 seconds remaining when Zach Parise took a pass from behind the net from Jamie Langenbrunner and beat Antero Niittymaki with Brodeur pulled for an extra attacker.

Brad Lukowich's deflection goal at 4:10 of overtime gave New Jersey the victory, even though the Flyers outshot the Devils 9-2 in the extra session.

"They had a guy in front of our goalie that got his stick on the puck. It's a game we should win," said John Stevens after the game. "We scored five goals against that team. We played with energy and physicality in our game. It's a game we should put away.

"We played with energy, we were on top of the puck, we were a physical hockey team and we scored five goals. When you score five goals on Martin Brodeur you should win the hockey game."

New Jersey is 5-0 this season against Philadelphia, which dropped its 12th consecutive home game.

"I just don't know what it is for us to get over the hump," said Knuble. "We're doing a lot of the right things, it's just one little thing at the end that gets us."

New Jersey led 3-2 after two periods, but the Flyers scored twice to take the lead. First, Dmitry Afanasenkov skated around Lukowich and got his own rebound for a goal at 2:52, his first point as a Flyer.

Knuble's tip-in of a shot by Picard on the power play gave the Flyers the lead, but a slap shot by Langenbrunner was misplayed by Niittymaki at 11:56 to tie the game at 4-4.

"It's frustrating; we played pretty well," said Forsberg. "I thought we played great, coming back and getting up 4-3 in the third period. It was just a brutal goal in the end, again. It's hard losing this way. I know that we are far behind in the standings. For the fans too, we seem to not be able to find a way to win. It was a tough loss today."

Each team scored once in the first period. Ben Eager deflected a wrist shot from the point by Alexander Picard at 2:22 while Travis Zajac responded for the Devils with his the first of his two goals at 5:16.

New Jersey had a great chance to take the lead with a power play for more than five minutes shortly after tying the game, but Philadelphia killed off the hooking call on Mike York and double minor on Joni Pitkanen for high-sticking.

Philadelphia took its second lead of the game when Knuble ended a nine-game goal-scoring drought when he found the rebound of a shot by Picard at 2:19 of the second period.

The lead did not last as New Jersey scored a pair before the break to take a 3-2 lead. Zajac netted his second goal of the game and 10th of the season when he knocked in a loose puck in front of Antero Niittymaki with the Devils on a two-man advantage at 8:17.

Later, Patrik Elias backhanded in his own rebound on a two-on-two rush at 11:52.

Philadelphia was 2-for-4 on the power play while the Devils scored once on seven chances.

The Flyers make their second visit in six days to Atlanta when they play the Thrashers on Saturday night (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP). Philadelphia won there last Sunday, 3-2.

Pitkanen left the game in the first period and returned midway through the second after taking a slap shot off of his right ankle. … Picard ended a 19-game scoreless streak and tied the franchise mark for second for most assists in a game. Eric Lindros had six assists on February 26, 1997 at Ottawa. … Philadelphia is now 0-3 in overtime and 1-7 overall in games that go past the third period.
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