Flying High Again – Devils Beat the “Bullies” 5-2
Three Stars of the Game:
3rd Star: Andrei Loktionov (1 G, 1 A)
2nd Star: Johan Hedberg (2 GA, 23 Saves)
1st Star: Adam Henrique (2 G, 1 A)
The Devils (13-9-5) picked up their 30th and 31st points of the season against an old rival, the Philadelphia Flyers (12-15-1), in the first half of a home-and-home series. The win gives the Devils their first consecutive wins since ending their 5-game winning streak in mid-February, and is the first time the Devils scored more than 3 goals since they last played the Flyers on February 15.
The Devils got started early on the Flyers, with Patrik Elias stuffing home a rebound at 2:02 of the first period, following a set-up from Adam Henrique playing Steve Bernier’s rebound. The goal gave Elias his 9th goal of the season, and an assist later in the game would give him his team-leading 27th point. Following the goal, however, the Devils started to get into some penalty trouble. Tom Kostopoulos was the first to take a tripping penalty at 2:34, with Ryan Carter being called for the same penalty at 9:13. The Flyers would put on a good amount of pressure during their first power-play, with Hedberg making some great saves to keep the game 1-0 for the Devils. During the second power-play, however, Jakub Voracek was able to put away an easy goal following some crisp passing from Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux. Just when it started to look like this game would be a close-fought, tight game, Adam Henrique scored his first of the night less than a minute after the Flyers goal. Henrique threw the puck at the next from behind the face-off circle and got a fortunate bounce off of Matt Read’s backside to sneak it past Bryzgalov. With 4 minutes left in the first period, the Flyers would get another power-play as Bryce Salvador was called for interference. Following some early pressure from the Flyers, Matt Read was unable to control a bouncing clear from Stephen Gionta, and Ilya Kovalchuk was off to the races. With a ridiculous wrist shot, Kovalchuk put the Devils up 3-1, and wracked up his 4th short-handed goal of the season. To put that in perspective for you, there are 28 TEAMS in the NHL that have fewer short-handed goals.
The Flyers started the third period looking to close the gap against the Devils, but were unable to break through Hedberg or the Devils defense. At 6:31 of the second period, Andrei Loktionov scored what will probably be his prettiest goal of the season to give the Devils a commanding 4-1 lead. The Flyers would get called for two penalties in the 2nd (Too Many Men, Closing Hand on Puck) and the Devils would get called for one (Hooking), with the last of the Flyers penalties extending into the 3rd period.
Just 1:16 into the final frame, Adam Henrique would score his second of the game on a top-shelf back-hander to give the Devils a 4-goal lead. Following the goal, Scott Hartnell felt it was time to send a message to the Devils, by letting them know that they wouldn’t go down fighting. But I can’t help but shake the feeling that he did more harm than good for the Flyers. Hartnell may have scored the Flyers second goal to make it 5-2, but he also got called for 4 penalties in the period (Boarding, Slashing, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Slashing). Tom Kostopoulos sent his own message right back to Hartnell, too.
The Flyers may have tried to send a message to the Devils, but the Devils message was much more effective. They’ve won all three meetings this season, outscoring the Flyers 13-5 in the process and swept all of the games at the Prudential Center. The Devils haven’t lost to the Flyers since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season, and haven’t lost at The Rock in the regular season since January 21, 2012. The Devils have had the Flyers’ number as of late, and they look to continue that streak on Friday. The Devils will travel to Philadelphia to play the Flyers for the first time on the road this season.
Posted on March 14, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Recap, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Prudential Center, The Rock, Win and tagged Adam Henrique, Andrei Loktionov, Ilya Bryzgalov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Patrik Elias. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.