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Devils aim to bounce back against Flyers

by Mike G. Morreale

FLYERS (21-17-4) at DEVILS (17-18-8)


Last 10: Philadelphia 7-2-1; New Jersey 5-3-2

Season series: This is the third of four meetings. The teams traded shutouts in November; the Philadelphia Flyers scored a 1-0 win in Newark and the New Jersey Devils had a 3-0 victory in Philadelphia. The final regular season match is March 11 at Wells Fargo Center.

Big story: The Flyers capped a very impressive West Coast swing, earning eight of a possible 10 points with victories against the Edmonton Oilers (4-3 shootout), Vancouver Canucks (4-3 shootout), Calgary Flames (4-1) and Phoenix Coyotes (5-3). The only loss came against the Colorado Avalanche (2-1) on Jan. 2. Philadelphia now returns back East to face the Devils in Newark before heading home for two straight against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday and Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. The Flyers have quietly catapulted into second place in the Metropolitan Division with 46 points in 42 games and are 10-10-4 on the road. Additionally, the Flyers haven't allowed a power-play goal in the past four games (12-for-12).

Team Scope:

Flyers: Jakub Voracek had a goal and one assist when the Flyers scored a 5-3 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday at Arena. The Flyers rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, scoring four unanswered goals bridging the second and third periods. Steve Mason, who made 26 saves against the Coyotes, has been beaten in regulation just three times since Nov. 5 while going 14-3-4. Scott Hartnell, Brayden Schenn and Claude Giroux also scored for Philadelphia, which has gone 19-10-4 since starting the season 1-7-0.

"We have a very good chemistry," Voracek told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's a very hardworking team over here, and in the beginning of the season we would just fold, but right now we believe in ourselves that we can come back."

Devils: The Devils closed out their 12th of 22 sets of back-to-back games on Saturday with a 2-1 loss against the Buffalo Sabres, falling to 7-2-3 in the second of back-to-back games. Goalie Cory Schneider made 20 saves, but lost for the 14th time in 19 starts. The Devils have scored one goal or fewer in nine of Schneider's starts this season (1-7-1).

"It's one thing to lose to a team like Chicago [on Friday]," Schneider told The (Newark) Star-Ledger. "You tip your cap to them and say they're a good team. No disrespect to Buffalo. They're playing really hard. They've got some guys missing. They're standing their ground on home ice. But I think for us, after having lost [to Chicago], this is a game that we had to find a way to win."

Devils did receive some good news with the return of defenseman Anton Volchenkov to the lineup against Buffalo at First Niagara Center. Volchenkov, who was activated from injured reserve earlier in the day, had missed the previous three games with total body soreness. Paired with Marek Zidlicky, Volchenkov earned 19:42 of ice time, had one hit and two blocked shots. The veteran Russian defenseman replaced rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas, who was assigned to the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Albany Devils, on Saturday.

Who's hot: Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds has eight goals and 12 points over the past eight games and has six multiple-point games in the past 11 matches. … Travis Zajac has three goals and nine points in the past 13 games for the Devils.

Injury report: For the Flyers, forward Michael Raffl (concussion) and defenseman Erik Gustafsson (knee) are out. Forward Matt Read (upper body) is day-to-day. … Devils left wing Patrik Elias (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Monday. Defenseman Adam Larsson (lower body) is close to returning. Forward Damien Brunner (knee) and defenseman Peter Harrold (foot) are out.

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