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Devils go for home-and-home sweep of Flyers

by Dan Rosen

DEVILS (13-9-5) at FLYERS (12-15-1)


Last 10: New Jersey 3-6-1; Philadelphia 4-6-0

Season series: This is the fourth of five meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals. The Devils have won the first three and seven straight over Philadelphia dating back to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Big story: New Jersey will go for the sweep of the home-and-home series and a chance to take an eight-point lead over the Flyers in the standings. The Devils beat Philadelphia, 5-2, on Wednesday at Prudential Center. The Flyers are trying to stay relevant in the Eastern Conference and need a win to do so. They have lost four of their past five games.

Team Scope:

Flyers: Ilya Bryzgalov said prior to the game Wednesday that if the Flyers lose both games in this home-and-home against the Devils than they are "done." They're 0-1 after Bryzgalov was victimized five times on 32 shots Wednesday in Newark, N.J.

Following that loss, Bryzgalov said he was out of answers for why the Flyers continue to struggle with inconsistent play leading to turnovers and odd-man rushes against that result in goals. Coach Peter Laviolette didn't know what to say when asked if the loss to the Devils meant the Flyers had hit rock bottom.

"I don't know," Bryzgalov said. "You've gotta ask the coaches, the other players. I don't have answers."

If Bryzgalov starts Friday -- and all indications are that he will -- it will be his 27th start in 29 games this season. No other goalie had started more than 23 games prior to the games Thursday night.

Devils: They have put things back together after a six-game winless drought (0-5-1). The Devils have won two in a row and three of four to remain in the top eight of the Eastern Conference at No. 7.

Johan Hedberg will start his 11th straight game Friday, setting a new personal record for most consecutive starts. Hedberg was especially sharp Wednesday, when he made 23 saves.

Injured goalie Martin Brodeur (back) skated for the third straight day Thursday, but he will not accompany the team to Philadelphia and is considered day-to-day. Brodeur, who hasn't played since Feb. 21, has not been ruled out as a potential starter for the game Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens at Prudential Center.

"It's really day to day," coach Peter DeBoer told reporters Thursday when asked about Brodeur's status. "We're waking up on a daily basis, having conversations with him and seeing how he feels. I can't tell you anything more than that."

DeBoer also said he would have "no problem" starting Hedberg again on Saturday.

Henrik Tallinder (lower-body injury) also skated Thursday and is day-to-day, but like Brodeur, he will not be in Philadelphia for the game Friday.

Who's hot: Devils center Adam Henrique scored twice and had an assist Wednesday night for his first multi-point game of the season. Patrik Elias has goals in four of the past five games. Ilya Kovalchuk is riding a five-game point streak.

Injury report: Brodeur, Tallinder and Dainius Zubrus (left wrist) are all on the Devils' injured reserve list. … The Flyers are without Tye McGinn (orbital) and Jody Shelley (hip). Luke Schenn sat out the game Wednesday with the flu.

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