The Philadelphia Flyers spent 2006-07 looking up at the Atlantic Division champion New Jersey Devils in the standings. That hasn't been the case early this season.
The first-place Flyers seek their first four-game winning streak in more than 18 months when they host the Devils on Thursday at the Wachovia Center.
Philadelphia also will try to avoid a third straight loss to New Jersey, which was 7-0-1 in last season's series. The Devils are 10-0-1 against the Flyers since a 2-1 regulation loss on March 21, 2006.
Philadelphia (4-1-0) shut out Atlanta 4-0 on Tuesday, and will try for their longest winning streak since March 18-25, 2006. The Flyers didn't win their fifth game last season until Nov. 16.
After finishing with a franchise-worst 56 points last season, Philadelphia begins play with a two-point lead over New Jersey (3-3-0) and the New York Islanders. Thanks to some key offseason acquisitions, including All-Star MVP Daniel Briere, the Flyers are off a strong start and expect to keep it going.
"We want to be the best team in the league," said Flyers goaltender Martin Biron, who made 31 saves Tuesday for his first shutout since being acquired from Buffalo in February. "We want to show we've really made the effort to work at it. It all matters now."
Biron has started every game this season, posting a 1.81 goals-against average, and most likely will be back in net. Backup Antero Niitymaki was 0-2-3 with a 3.27 GAA versus the Devils last season.
Jeff Carter had a goal and assist, and Joffrey Lupul, who came over from Edmonton in an offseason trade, had two assists on Tuesday for the Flyers.
"When we get those chances, we've been burying them this year and it's turning into wins for us," said Carter, who looks to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games. His only goal in 14 games versus New Jersey came in a 3-2 loss on April 5 in the teams' most recent meeting.
The Devils will try for a third straight victory after a wild 5-4 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday as they continue their season-opening nine-game road trip before playing their first game at the new Prudential Center on Oct. 27 versus Ottawa.
Arron Asham scored the tiebreaking goal with 9:22 left in the third period, Travis Zajac had two goals and leading scorer Zach Parise had three assists for the Devils, who have scored 11 goals in their last two games after posting just seven in their first four.
"It's not the way we draw things up," said Devils forward John Madden, who added a goal and assist. "But nonetheless, we're getting wins."
Prior to its 6-5 victory at Atlanta on Saturday, New Jersey had not scored more than four goals since a 5-2 win over Montreal on Feb. 14 - a 29-game span.
"(High-scoring games) don't happen too often with us," said three-time Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Martin Brodeur, who made 26 saves Wednesday in just his second win this season. "That's two in a row we have gone through. It's just the way it is right now. We're getting two points, so we'll take it."
Brodeur, the all-time wins leader among goaltenders who needs four more for 500, is 17-12-3 with a tie and 2.62 GAA over 33 career starts in Philadelphia.
Parise, who has seven goals and six assists in 15 contests versus the Flyers, looks to extend his consecutive points streak against them to six games Thursday. He has two goals and four assists during his run.