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Devils to start Brodeur in third straight game

by Mike G. Morreale

FLYERS (3-9-0) at DEVILS (3-5-4)


Last 10: Flyers 3-7-0; Devils 3-4-3

Season series: The New Jersey Devils won four of the five meetings between the Metropolitan Division foes in 2012-13, scoring a 3-0 victory in the series finale April 19 when Martin Brodeur made 23 saves at Wells Fargo Center. The shutout was the 11th in Brodeur's career against the Philadelphia Flyers, the most by any opposing goalie. This is the first of four meetings this season. The teams will face off again Thursday in Philadelphia.

Big story: After winning consecutive games for the first time this season, the Devils are three  points out of second in the Metropolitan Division. Brodeur, who was in net for both victories, against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, earned his third straight start.

"We're lucky to be in that division. That's the bottom line," Brodeur said. "All of the teams have partly struggled. But you know what? There's a lot of good hockey teams in our division, and it won't be like that all year. We're going to need to play well."

Team Scope:

Flyers: General manager Paul Holmgren reacquired forward Steve Downie in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday in exchange for Maxime Talbot. Downie's debut wasn't exactly what the GM envisioned; the Flyers were blown out by the Washington Capitals 7-0 on Friday. Downie, who sustained a concussion in the game, accrued 17 penalty minutes, including a minor for instigating, five for fighting and a misconduct. The Capitals scored five times in the second period to grab a 6-0 advantage in a penalty-marred affair at Wells Fargo Center. Just eight seconds after Joel Ward had given the Capitals a 7-0 lead early in the third, a brawl ensued that resulted in eight fighting majors. Ray Emery, who had replaced starter Steve Mason in the second, received one of them to go with two minors, a misconduct and a game misconduct.

Four other players, including Philadelphia's Vincent Lecavalier and Brayden Schenn, were given fighting majors and game misconducts in the brawl.

Perhaps most alarming is the fact the fading Flyers have scored a total of 20 goals in 12 games this season and forwards Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell remain goal-less.

Devils: Cory Schneider returned to practice Thursday after missing the games against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning with a lower-body injury but remains on injured reserve. Brodeur has played well in the past two games after a tough start. The 41-year-old yielded four total goals in the wins against Boston and Tampa Bay, including just two even-strength goals.

"I feel good," Brodeur said. "I think the more you're on your feet in the crease in certain situations, with a few minutes left and you've got to hold leads, that's what I play hockey for. So, it was kind of nice to have these situations just to kind of get in a groove a little bit."

Who's hot: Jaromir Jagr has a five-game point-scoring streak, connecting for one goal and seven points over that stretch. … Lecavalier has scored four goals in his past three games for the Flyers.

Injury report: Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador (foot) is doubtful and left wing Ryane Clowe (head) is out. … Downie (concussion) and Lecavalier (facial injuries) are out, according to Holmgren. Each sustained his injury Friday night.

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