The Philadelphia Flyers are playing well enough that they might be able to end their misery on the road against the New Jersey Devils.
The surging Flyers look to win their fifth in a row while trying to avoid a 12th consecutive road loss to the slumping Devils when the Atlantic Division rivals meet Friday night.
Tied with Boston for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, but just two points ahead of ninth-place Washington, Philadelphia (39-28-10) hasn't won in New Jersey since a 3-1 victory there on March 9, 2004. The Flyers, losers of five in a row overall to the Devils after winning the first meeting of the season 4-0 on Oct. 18, have been outscored 11-3 in three trips to New Jersey in 2007-08.
The Flyers, however, appear confident heading into this contest after winning four straight since dropping four in a row, while New Jersey (42-28-7) has lost a season-high five consecutive games, dropping it into fifth in the East, just three points ahead of Philadelphia.
The Devils haven't lost six in a row since November 2000.
"It's a whole new ballgame (Friday)," Philadelphia's Jeff Carter told the team's official Web site. "I don't care what happened at the start of the year. I know we're playing good hockey right now."
Meeting for the first time since New Jersey won 7-3 at Philadelphia on Jan. 22, both are coming off different results against the New York Rangers.
New Jersey gave up two third-period goals in falling 3-2 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, two nights after Philadelphia won 2-1 overtime at New York to open a final four-game road trip before closing with two at home - including a date with the Devils on April 4.
Daniel Briere recorded his 30th goal and Mike Richards scored 2:16 into overtime for the Flyers, who have outscored their opponents 6-2 in their last two games.
"To me, (this is) about as close as playoffs can be," said Flyers goalie Martin Biron, who made 31 saves Tuesday for his third straight win. "That's why you don't look ahead to the playoffs, because you're playing in the playoffs right now."
Biron has stopped 63 of the 65 shots he's faced in his last two contests, but is 1-3-0 with a 3.75 goals-against average versus the Devils this season. He has lost all seven of his previous starts in New Jersey.
Briere, who has four goals and two assists in his last three games, has scored just twice against the Devils this season.
Patrik Elias and Zach Parise each scored Thursday for New Jersey, which blew a 2-1 lead and has just five goals in its last five games after recording eight total in its two victories prior to the skid.
"We can't afford to lose games like this at this time of year," Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. "It's extremely frustrating for us, a team that prides itself on being able to finish games."
Martin Brodeur made 28 saves Thursday in his fifth consecutive loss, but hopes to bounce while trying for a sixth straight win over Philadelphia. Brodeur has started all six contests versus the Flyers this season, posting a 2.00 GAA in those games.
Parise, the team leader with 31 goals, had two in the Devils' most recent win over Philadelphia.