The Philadelphia Flyers
made a rare appearance at the Wells Fargo Center count Saturday.
James van Riemsdyk
and Danny Briere
scored first-period goals and Brian Boucher stopped 34 shots as the Flyers at least temporarily reclaimed first place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils
Philadelphia now has 57 points, one more than Pittsburgh, which was set to host Minnesota later Saturday.
"We've just carried over what we did last year in the playoffs," Boucher said. "Our goal this year was to put ourselves in better position come spring time. We've done a good job thus far, but there's still a lot of work to do."
With the goaltender pulled and the Devils attacking in the final minute, Boucher stopped Dainius Zubrus
on a chance in alone and kept the puck out of the net as players from both sides piled up in the crease with 15 seconds remaining.
scored the only goal for the Devils, who have lost 10 of 11 and 15 of 17 since the start of December. They did receive a flawless, 19-save relief performance from Martin Brodeur
Philadelphia just returned from a five-game road trip in which it won three times and starts a four-game swing in Buffalo on Tuesday.
The victory clinched an All-Star coaching berth for Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, who will join Alain Vigneault of the Canucks behind one bench against Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and his assistant Mike Haviland in Raleigh at the end of the month.
"It'll be fun. I've never been to one before," Laviolette said.
The Flyers scored twice on 10 shots in the first 14:41 of the game to chase Devils starter Johan Hedberg
, who to that point had played every minute in the four matchups between the Atlantic Division rivals this season.
With the teams skating 4-on-4, van Rimesdyk opened the scoring at 8:13 with a shot from the left circle that beat Hedberg between the pads. A hooking penalty to Patrik Elias
resulted in Briere doubling the Philadelphia lead on the ensuing power play with his team-leading 21st goal of the season.
At that point, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire replaced Hedberg with Brodeur, who had played only eight minutes over the previous four games, getting pulled from a start in Carolina seven days ago. Hedberg had started in the game before that and in each of the three since.
"I know it's only been a week, but it seemed like a long time for me," Brodeur said. "It's been good taking a step back, to work on my game, not focus on the atmosphere of losing every day and getting it out of my head."
Brodeur stopped the only shot he faced in the first period and all eight against him in the second, and New Jersey cut its deficit in half when Greene fired a puck at the net that deflected off the skate of Philadelphia's Ville Leino and went up and over Boucher at the 8:07 mark.
It was the only puck the Devils got past him, however, and they hit the halfway point of the season at 10-29-2 for a League-low 22 points.
"We're making progress. I think it's a good game we played tonight," coach Jacques Lemaire said.
"They really tried to get back and tie it at the end. We did a lot of good things. You know, the guys, they never stopped and this is what we're working on. It would be nice to get a point just to feel good about our work, but it didn't happen."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.