EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ A lot of determination and a little luck got
the defending champion New Jersey Devils back into their first-round playoff
series with the Philadelphia Flyers.
After dropping the opening two games in Philadelphia, the Devils took a game
they almost had to win by beating the Flyers 4-2 on Monday night behind two
goals by Patrik Elias and three assists by Scott Gomez.
``We're back in it now,'' goaltender Martin Brodeur said after making 23
saves. ``Those guys were flying high and hopefully we put a little doubt in
Rookie Paul Martin and Brian Gionta also scored as New Jersey cut the
Flyers' lead in the best-of-7 series to 2-1. Game 4 also will be played at the
Continental Airlines Arena on Wednesday night.
Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte scored for the Flyers, who twice blew
The Devils, 0-for-7 on the power play in losing two 3-2 decisions in
Philadelphia, scored three times on five extra-man chances to get back into the
``We didn't play anything different in the way we were going to forecheck or
what we were going to do,'' Flyers center Keith Primeau said of their failures
on the penalty kill. ``Maybe they were just more desperate on their special
teams than we were.''
The Devils also had a little luck.
Elias' second goal went past Robert Esche off the hip of Flyers defenseman
Kim Johnsson with 2:32 left in the second period, giving New Jersey a 3-2 lead.
It marked the first time in the series the Devils were ahead.
``It hit the pants and deflected in,'' Johnsson said. ``It was bad luck. We
have to bounce back and refocus on the fourth game.''
Elias said Johnsson was not the target of his shot from the top of the right
``I got lucky with the shot,'' Elias said. ``It just went through there.''
Gionta, who had hit the goalpost with a shot from center ice minutes
earlier, gave the Devils breathing room at the 7:00 mark of the third period,
scoring a power-play goal right in front off a nice pass by Gomez from behind
``We played hard and we're going to play hard the whole series,'' Roenick
said. ``We're up against the Stanley Cup champions. We know they're going to
keep coming hard at us.''
The Flyers, who converted two of their four power plays in the first two
games, converted on two of their first three in twice taking the lead in Game
Roenick put Philadelphia ahead 1-0 a little more than a minute after Martin
was penalized for interference. After Brodeur stopped Johnsson's shot from the
right circle, Roenick fluttered the rebound over the Devils goaltender.
The goal was originally credited to Amonte, who flicked his stick at the
puck simultaneously with Roenick.
Elias tied the game early in the second period, putting a centering pass
from Gomez into a virtually open net.
A giveaway by defenseman Scott Niedermayer behind his own net set up Amonte
in close at 3:13. Martin scored on a scramble in front at 4:55 with New Jersey
on a power play.