Martin Brodeur's 500th victory isn't coming easy. His offensively-challenged teammates certainly aren't helping his cause.
Brodeur tries for the fourth time to become the second goaltender in NHL history with 500 wins on Saturday night when the struggling Devils visit the Philadelphia Flyers in an Atlantic Division matchup.
Since beating Philadelphia 4-1 on Nov. 8 for his 499th win, Brodeur has lost three straight starts in his bid for No. 500. He lost 2-1 to the New York Islanders on Nov. 10 before falling 4-2 to the New York Rangers on Wednesday and 1-0 at home to the Islanders on Friday.
"I'm definitely sweating the next game," Brodeur said. "When I go in there, I'm used to winning; now, I'm losing more than I'm winning and it's not fun, for me or the team."
The Islanders scored short-handed Friday following a giveaway by Devils defenseman Mike Mottau, who was scratched three of the previous four games.
"You create your own luck," Brodeur said. "You can't cry about not getting the bounces."
New Jersey is without Colin White and Paul Martin - arguably its top two defensemen. White has been out since the preseason with an eye injury, and Martin sat out Friday after suffering what the team has called a lower-body injury Wednesday against the Rangers.
Brodeur, who trails only Patrick Roy's 551 victories, leads the NHL with 10 losses.
Facing the Flyers, though, usually brings positive results for the Devils netminder, who is 11-1-1 with a 2.19 goals-against average in his last 13 starts against them, including 1-1-0 with a 2.50 GAA this season.
Winning games with any regularity will be difficult unless the Devils (7-10-2) can find a way to generate more offense. They have lost five of their last seven games, scoring 11 goals in that span.
New Jersey has already been shut out five times in 19 games this season after it was blanked twice in all of 2006-07.
Left wing Patrik Elias, a three-time 30-goal scorer, has one in his last 14 games. Right wing Brian Gionta, who scored a career-high 48 goals in 2005-06, has four goals this season.
The Flyers (11-6-1) were denied their first 7-0-0 home start in 21 years with a 4-3 shootout loss Thursday to the Rangers. Jim Dowd, Daniel Briere and rookie Denis Tolpeko scored for Philadelphia, which outscored its first six opponents at home 22-7.
Although they failed to win at home for the first time, the Flyers twice rallied from one-goal deficits to force overtime.
"It's an extra point we'd like to have, but it doesn't take away from anything we did in this game tonight," said Martin Biron, who made 26 saves.
Outstanding special teams have contributed to the Flyers' 6-0-1 home record. They are a league-best 8-for-29 on the power play at Wachovia Center while allowing two goals in 33 short-handed situations.
Center Mike Richards has also been a key figure in his team's fast start. He leads the Flyers with 10 goals and 21 points, including four goals and five assists during a six-game home point streak.
The Flyers opened the eight-game season series with a 4-0 home victory on Oct. 18 as Biron stopped 38 shots. The Devils, though, got two goals from Dainius Zubrus in a 4-1 home win on Nov. 8.