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Devils respond with dominant performance

by Mike G. Morreale

PHILADELPHIA -- The New Jersey Devils fired everything but the kitchen sink in the direction of Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov during Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal.

At first, it appeared as though the plan would have no effect on the Russian netminder. But, to their credit, the Devils never took their skates off the gas pedal.


Devils beat Flyers 4-1 to even series

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor
The Devils -- playing without Ilya Kovalchuk -- scored four times in the third period to beat the Flyers 4-1 and even the series at one game apiece before it shifts to New Jersey for Games 3 & 4.

Devils coach Pete DeBoer promised his team would generate more shots, more activity and more screens on Bryzgalov following their 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers in Game 1 on Sunday, and they certainly didn't disappoint.

In one of the more dominant performances by the Devils in recent memory, the visitors outshot the Flyers by a 22-11 margin over the final 40 minutes to eventually overcome some pretty exceptional goaltending by Bryzgalov en route to a 4-1 victory at Wells Fargo Center to even this best-of-seven series, 1-1.

After being denied on 12 shots in the second period, the Devils would connect for four unanswered goals on nine shots in the third.

And they did it without their leading regular-season scorer in the lineup in Ilya Kovalchuk, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

"Kovy's a huge part of our team and, internally, we knew that everyone had to be a little better not having him in the lineup," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "We responded well. We got contributions from everyone and our defense even got involved [with two goals]. It was an all-around team game."

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves when trailing, 1-0, through two periods, the Devils went right back to work in the third and proved their mettle.

"I don't know if I was surprised [on dominating the second period," Devils forward David Clarkson said. "I just think we worked hard. I don't think we dominated. That's a good team over there, and I think we worked hard and did a lot of good things."

In the process, the Devils certainly gave the Flyers something to remember them by prior to Game 3 at Prudential Center in New Jersey on Thursday.

"Kovy is one of the best players in the NHL, so you take him out of the lineup, it'll hurt you, but you pride yourself as an organization to try and get some depth so other people can step in when things like that happen," goalie Martin Brodeur said. "We went through it with Travis [Zajac] this year and, last year, with Zach out of the lineup."

Clarkson's first goal of the playoffs 11:17 into the third proved to be the difference.

"This game is proof of the type of guys we have in this room," Clarkson said. "We battled hard and we didn't give up. We did a lot of good things and we've got to build on that for [Thursday's] game."

How dominant were the Devils? New Jersey had more shots blocked by the Flyers (23) than the Flyers had shots on goal (20).

The effort, minus Kovalchuk, didn't surprise DeBoer.

"I really thought we would respond like this," DeBoer said. "It's not more than I expected. It is what I expected. I knew we'd be better than Game 1. I think there were some obvious reasons why we ran out of gas a little in Game 1. I knew we'd bounce back and we've dealt with adversity and injuries and things all year, and I really felt that we'd have a great game and we did."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale

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