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Devils-Flyers Preview @NHL
Devils-Flyers Preview

GAME: New Jersey Devils (12-9-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (14-6-3).

TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The New Jersey Devils appear to have snapped out of their early-season slump. Right wing Brian Gionta has played a large role in that.

Red-hot Gionta look to help the Devils extend their season-high three-game win streak when they visit the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia Flyers.

Gionta scored in the second period of New Jersey's 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, his fifth straight game with a goal. He has six goals and four assists in his last five games, and 11 goals in his past 12 contests.

Gionta recorded career highs of 21 goals and 29 points in 2003-04. He leads the team with 16 goals and 27 points already this season.

New Jersey, which opened this season 6-7-2, has won six of eight. It has outscored opponents 16-5 during its current three-game streak.

Alexander Mogilny scored the game-winning goal with 32 seconds left Tuesday, and Jay Pandolfo also scored for the Devils.

"Basically, I want to try and hit the net," Mogilny said. "You don't want to get greedy. You want to put the puck through. A lot times when you try to get cute, nothing happens."

Defenseman Vladimir Malakhov, who left practice early Monday because he was ill, missed the game and was replaced by Sean Brown, who had been scratched the two previous games.

The Flyers won their third straight road game Tuesday, rallying for a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders.

Simon Gagne scored his NHL-leading 22nd and 23rd goals, including the game-winner with 7:13 left. He also assisted on Joni Pitkanen's second-period goal.

Eighteen of Gagne's goals have come off assists from star center Peter Forsberg, who missed his second straight game with a groin injury and isn't expected to play Wednesday.

"Peter is very helpful when he is on the ice with me," said Gagne, who has seven multiple-goal games this season in only 23 contests. "Right now he's not here so maybe I have to give it a little bit more if I'm going to have a chance to score."

Robert Esche stopped 20 shots and allowed fewer than four goals for the first time in five games. He had dropped three straight decisions and didn't play in four of Philadelphia's previous six contests.

Philadelphia has lost four in a row at home (0-2-2) after winning nine straight at the Wachovia Center.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 29): Devils - 26 points, 3rd place, 9 PB, Atlantic Division. Flyers - 31 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Gionta, 16 goals and 27 points; Scott Gomez, 14 assists; Jamie Langenbrunner, 30 PIM. Flyers - Gagne, 23 goals; Forsberg, 31 assists and 39 points; Pitkanen, 38 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 29): Devils - Power play: 20.9 percent (28 for 134), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (97 for 115), tied for 6th. Flyers - Power play: 21 percent (32 for 152), 6th. Penalty killing: 75.1 percent (109 for 145), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Devils - Martin Brodeur (10-7-0, 3.20 GAA); Scott Clemmensen (2-2-2, 3.32). Flyers - Esche (9-4-2, 3.33); Antero Niittymaki (5-2-1, 3.46).

SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 7; Flyers, 5-2. At Philadelphia, Gagne scored two goals in a span of nine minutes in the second period.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 5-5-1 on the road; Flyers - 9-3-2 at home.

Associated Press
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