Fresh off rally, Devils seek series edge on Flyers
Mike G. Morreale
FLYERS at DEVILS
(Best-of-seven series tied, 1-1)
TV: NBCSN, CBC, RDS
Big Story: The series shifts to Prudential Center in Newark after the Devils rallied in the third period Tuesday to gain a split of the first two games in Philadelphia.
Without the services of one of their star players in Ilya Kovalchuk (lower body), the Devils exhibited perhaps their finest performance of these playoffs in a 4-1 victory at Wells Fargo Center. After spotting the Flyers a 1-0 lead just 2:53 into the first, the Devils maintained constant pressure on Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and ultimately fired home four unanswered goals in the third.
Flyers: As good as Bryzgalov was in the game, he couldn't bail the Flyers out of this all-out offensive assault and the suffocating defense exhibited by the Devils. The Flyers didn't get a shot on goal in the second period until there was 1:27 left and they were outshot 35-20 for the game. The Devils also outhit the Flyers 32-24 in their own building, a feat not easily accomplished in the City of Brotherly Love.
"It is disappointing," Danny Briere said. "Bryz is the only one who showed up. I am sure he is disappointed, just like the rest of us. When you get into the playoffs, it doesn't matter who plays well and who doesn't. At the end of the night the only thing that matters is a win. We didn't get that [Tuesday], so it is disappointing for everybody."
Devils: Trailing by a goal entering the third period, the Devils tied it when rookie defenseman Adam Larsson, who was making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, ripped home a shot from the right circle to square the contest, 1-1, at 3:08. Right wing David Clarkson untied it with his first goal of the playoffs at 11:17 before center Travis Zajac scored off a wraparound at 14:01 to give the visitors a 3-1 cushion. Defenseman Bryce Salvador closed it out by scoring into an empty net for a shorthanded goal, his first goal in more than two years.
"I really felt we would respond like this," coach Pete DeBoer said. "It's not more than I expected. It is what I expected."
Who's Hot: Zajac scored his team-leading fifth goal of the playoffs on Tuesday and now has eight points and a plus-1 rating in nine playoff games for the Devils. Zajac played just 15 regular-season games while dealing with an Achilles injury in 2011-12.
Injury Report: Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder (blood clot) and center Jacob Josefson (wrist) are out and Kovalchuk (lower body) is day-to-day. … Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros (back) is out.
Stat Pack: After missing all of last season with an inner-ear concussion, Salvador played all 82 games this season but didn't score a goal. On Tuesday, he scored his first goal since March 10, 2010. … In Tuesday's loss, the Flyers' top line of Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr combined for only four shots and no goals.
Puck Drop: The Flyers went 0-for-5 on the power play in Game 2, and are now 1-for-11 in the series. It was the first playoff game that the Flyers didn't pick up a power-play goal. The success on the penalty-kill is nothing new for the Devils, who led the League with a modern-day NHL record 89.6 percent PK efficiency during the regular-season. However, the Devils did struggle on the PK against the Florida Panthers in their opening-round series, yielding nine goals on 27 chances (66.7 percent).