NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 8th (All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (10-28-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (25-10-5), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers will aim for a home-and-home sweep of an Atlantic Division rival today, when they host the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers improved to 2-0 in the 2011 calendar year with a victory Thursday evening in New Jersey. Philadelphia has dominated the Devils recently, winning five of six and eight of the last 10 meetings and that doesn't include last season's Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup, which the Flyers won in five games.
New Jersey, which is last in the NHL with 22 points, has also dropped five straight, seven of eight and eight of its last 11 regular-season games in Philadelphia.
The Flyers posted a 4-2 victory over the Devils at the Prudential Center on Thursday as Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere each scored two goals. The win helped Philadelphia complete its five-game road trip with a 3-2-0 record.
Ville Leino added three assists and Brian Boucher improved to 9-4-2 on the year with an 18-save performance. Matt Carle also record a pair of assists in the win.
"It was kind of an interesting game," said Boucher. "Not much going on and then we catch a big break off the boards to get us going."
That lucky break Boucher referred to resulted in Philly's first goal of the game and it tied the score at 1-1 with 4:15 left in the second period. Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg left his net in an attempt to track down a dump-in from Leino, but the puck caromed back into the slot for Hartnell, who buried the gift for his first goal of the game.
"These boards are lively," Hartnell said. "All night you see it was taking weird bounces. I don't know if Ville did it on purpose but it wound up kicking right past Hedberg. I just had to put it in the open net."
The score was tied at 2-2 by the end of the second period, after a New Jersey goal from David Clarkson and Hartnell's second tally, but Briere scored twice in the third period to deliver the win for Philly.
Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus provided the offense for the Devils, who dropped their third straight game and suffered their ninth defeat in 10 outings. Hedberg allowed all four goals on 20 shots in the loss.
"Any bounce that could not go our way has been happening," Clarkson lamented.
New Jersey lost without the services of its captain, Jamie Langenbrunner, who was a healthy scratch due to trade rumors prior to Thursday's game. As it turns out those were more than rumors, as Langenbrunner was dealt to Dallas Friday morning in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2011 draft.
The 35-year-old Langenbrunner was originally drafted by Dallas and played his first six and a half season with the Stars before being dealt to New Jersey during the 2001-02 campaign. He had been the Devils' captain since December 2007.
Langenbrunner posted just four goals and 14 points in 31 games this season for the struggling Devils, who are off to their worst start in more than 25 years and are apparently beginning a salary purge.
The Devils have a dreadful 4-15-0 record as the road club this year and they've lost 10 straight away from home, tying the second-longest road skid in franchise history. The club record of 12 straight road losses was set from Oct. 19-Dec. 1, 1983.
New Jersey's last win as the guest was back on Nov. 3 in Chicago.
Meanwhile, the Flyers haven't played on home ice since getting dealt an embarrassing 5-0 loss by Florida on Dec. 20. Philly, which will begin a four- game road trip Tuesday in Buffalo, is 12-6-2 as the host this season.
Flyers winger Nikolay Zherdev has missed the last two games with a lower-body issue and is questionable for today's contest. With 13 goals this season, Zherdev is one of six Philadelphia skaters with 10 goals or more.
01/08 10:32:38 ET