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Flyers try to gain ground on Devils in Atlantic

by Mike G. Morreale

FLYERS (6-7-1) at DEVILS (8-2-3)


Last 10: Philadelphia 5-4-1; New Jersey 5-2-3

Season series: This is the second of five meetings this season. The Devils scored a 3-0 victory on Jan. 22 in Newark behind a 24-save performance by Martin Brodeur, his 10th all-time goose egg against the Flyers. Travis Zajac and David Clarkson scored in the first period and Ilya Kovalchuk connected on a penalty shot while his team was shorthanded in the second.

Big story: Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello reacquired veteran left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky from the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday in exchange for a 2013 seventh-round draft pick and a 2014 fourth-round choice. Ponikarovsky had seven goals and 18 points in 33 regular-season games for the Eastern Conference champion Devils in 2011-12. He chipped in with nine points in 24 playoffs games last spring. He becomes the 23rd player in team history to be reacquired and play for the Devils. The move comes on the heels of the news that first-line wing Dainius Zubrus will undergo exploratory surgery on his wrist on Thursday and will be sidelined 2-8 weeks.

Team Scope:

Flyers: The Flyers are looking for their third road win of the year; they hold a 2-6 record in eight road matches this season. Claude Giroux hasn't gotten out to the start many expected this season, and perhaps the loss of injured Scott Hartnell is a big reason. In the 11 games Hartnell has missed, Giroux has scored just once. In a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, the Flyers received goals from Brayden Schenn, Kimmo Timonen and Tye McGinn, while Ilya Bryzgalov made 24 saves. McGinn's goal, his third of the season, gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead in the third period.

Devils: New Jersey holds a precarious one-point lead over the Boston Bruins for top honors in the Eastern Conference but has played two more games. The team suffered its second regulation loss of the season on Tuesday, dropping a 4-2 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes at Prudential Center. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur sports a 46-30-9 all-time record against Philadelphia in 86 appearances, with 10 shutouts.

Who's hot: Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek has two goals and eight points in the past eight games and leads the team with 10 points. … Patrik Elias has one goal and eight points in the past five games for New Jersey.

Injury report: The Devils will be without Zubrus (wrist), who is expected to undergo surgery Thursday. … The Flyers will be without defenseman Andrej Meszaros (arm) and Hartnell (foot). Sean Couturier has missed the last two games with the flu and is questionable against the Devils.

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