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Jersey’s Team Wins 2013 Home Opener

New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers


Across the league, players were unsure how their fans would respond to NHL finally commencing. When fans filled arenas for scrimmages it was assured that hockey was back. The Devils didn’t have any open practices. However, New Jersey fans still returned with as much energy as game 5 of the 2012 SCF. The fans returned strong, 17,625 strong to be exact. The arena was filled with energetic fans, many of whom were outside hours before the drop of the puck.

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Game 2: New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers – 2013 Home Opener

New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers

Match-Up

The New Jersey Devils (1-0-0) will welcome hockey back to Newark as they host the Philadelphia Flyers (0-2-0) on Tuesday for their 2013 Home Opener. If you’re thinking to yourself, “This sounds familiar…”, it should. On October 8, 2011, the Devils hosted the Flyers at the Prudential Center to begin the 2011-2012 season. The result of that game, however, was less than favorable for Devils fans, with the Flyers leaving Newark with a 3-0 win. The Devils would eventually split the regular season series with the Flyers, finishing 3-3-0 and a less-than-desirable 1-2-0 at home.

Devils fans were able to get the last laugh though, as Jersey’s Team easily disposed of the Flyers in 5 games during the Eastern Conference Semi-finals last season. The Devils main weapon during this series was a powerful, unrelenting fore-check that forced the Flyers back into their zone for the majority of the game. The Devils will look to repeat this success on Tuesday evening.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils have had a few days of rest before their home-opener, having beaten the New York Islanders on Saturday night by a final of 2-1. The Devils offense managed to put a good amount of pressure on the Islanders, registering 28 shots on the night with the two goals coming from Travis Zajac (1) and a now-regular goal-scorer, David Clarkson (1). Ilya Kovalchuk and Clarkson tied for most shots (5) for the Devils, with Kovalchuk also tallying an assist on Zajac’s goal.

The Devils defense and Martin Brodeur did what they’ve been known to do for year now: shut down the opposition. The Islanders were held to just 19 shots on goal, with Brodeur stopping 18 of them for his 657th career win (1-0, 1.00 GAA, 0.947 Sv%). The low number of shots did not mean the Islanders were without good scoring chances, but Marty was there to stop them, as he has been for so many years.

Philadelphia Flyers

Unlike the Devils, the Flyers will not have the luxury of two days of rest. The Flyers opened the shortened 2013 season at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, and followed it up with a meeting in Buffalo against the Sabres on Sunday. The Flyers lost both of those games, 3-1 to Pittsburgh and 5-2 to Buffalo. In both games, the Flyers took numerous penalties and struggled to kill off the ensuing short-handed scenarios. Between the two games, the Flyers have gone 4-9 on the penalty kill, with one of the goals being an empty-netter scored by Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek.

As has been the norm in Philadelphia for the past few years, goaltending has been an area for concern within the organization. Ilya Bryzgalov started both games for the Flyers and gave up 2 goals on 26 shots against Pittsburgh, and 4 goals on 40 shots in Buffalo (0-2-0, 3.05 GAA, 0.909 Sv%).

What to Watch For

Expect the Flyers to come out strong in the early minutes of this game. They’ve got a lot of ground to make-up in a division that was easily the tightest in the NHL last season. With the top 4 teams in the Atlantic Division being separated by only 7 points after 82 games, every division game this season will have a must-win feel to it.

The Devils will look to not only recreate the success they had in the playoffs last year, but will also want to be as disciplined as possible. Staying out of the penalty box was another key to their success against the Flyers last season. The Devils will also want to exploit the weak penalty kill of the Flyers, so expect the Devils to shoot early, shoot often, and try to beat the Flyers down low during the power play.

ECSF Game 5 Recap: Devils Bryz Past Flyers

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2, New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers

(headline by @amazingjr87)

Three stars of the game:

3rd star: Martin Brodeur (27 saves)

2nd star: Adam Henrique (2 assists)

1st star: Ilya Kovalchuk (Goal, assist)

If you honestly believed that the Devils would have knocked off the Philadelphia Flyers in five games this series, raise your hand.  …  I don’t see any hands up, partially because I’m staring at a computer screen as I type this, but I don’t think many people saw this coming, at least because of how it happened.  Perhaps the Devils could have contained the Flyers’ run-and-gun offense and grinded out a 6 or 7 game series victory.  Some people predicted that this year’s edition of the New Jersey Devils would be a mere trivia question in the Flyers’ Stanley Cup DVD this summer.  Well, they play the games for a reason, and that’s a good thing for the surging Devils, because their sixth win in seven games and fourth straight overall clinched a second round series win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and let’s be honest: this was one fun series to be a Devils fan for.

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Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 5 Preview: Devils at Flyers

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2, New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers

Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2
New Jersey Devils lead Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1
7:30 PM E.T.
TV: NBCSN, CBC
Radio: Bloomberg 1130 AM

As the series shifts back to Philadelphia for Game 5, the Devils have a chance to make tonight the final night of the Flyers’ season and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals in the process, a place they haven’t been since the 2003 playoffs.  But the next round is still the next round, and the Devils have one more game to win before thinking about the future.  There’s a bit of news to get to regarding the two teams and their lineups as well.

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ECSF Game 4 Recap: Zubrus and Zidlickymania rock Flyers

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2, New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers

(a condensed version of @JerseyGuy276‘s headline)

Three stars of the game:

3rd star: Marek Zidlicky (Goal, assist, 4 shots)

2nd star: Martin Brodeur (20 saves, assist)

1st star: Dainius Zubrus (2 goals, +2 rating)

The New Jersey Devils broke a series tie with their Game 3 overtime win over the Flyers, and on Sunday night, they extended their series lead to 3-1, and are now just one win away from their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals since 2003.  Sunday night featured another dominating all-around performance by the surging Devils, who nearly doubled the shot output of the opposing Flyers.  Martin Brodeur celebrated his 40th birthday in style, turning aside 20 pucks and leading his team to victory, as the series heads back to Philadelphia on Tuesday night for Game 5, when the Devils will have their first chance to knock the Flyers out of the playoffs.

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Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 4 Preview: Flyers at Devils

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2, New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers

Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2
New Jersey Devils lead Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1
7:30 PM E.T.
TV: NBCSN, CBC
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

The Devils rebounded from a Game 1 overtime loss by winning Games 2 and 3 and taking a 2-1 series lead on the Flyers.  Their most recent game was Thursday’s 4-3 win, courtesy of Alexei Ponikarovsky’s tally late in the first overtime.  The Devils got a heroic goal and two assist performance from Ilya Kovalchuk on Thursday, which came two nights after he sat out Game 2 due to his nagging lower-body injury.  Tonight, they’ll have a chance to take a 3-1 series lead and go back to Philadelphia with a chance to end the series in Game 5.

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