NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, February 10th
(All times eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (29-25-3) at New Jersey Devils (36-20-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - An already established rivalry between the Devils and
Flyers picked up some fuel last week when New Jersey acquired Ilya Kovalchuk.
After a big hit on a Devils player in Monday's opener of this home-and-home
set, things could get even more heated Wednesday.
New Jersey will host Philadelphia tonight in an Atlantic Division showdown at
The Devils and Flyers resumed their rivalry on Monday, with New Jersey taking
an early two-goal lead thanks to a goals by Zach Parise and Anssi Salmela, who
was part of the trade last Thursday that brought Kovalchuk to town from
However, Salmela was hit hard by the Flyers' Jeff Carter on a shoulder check
just as he scored short-handed, causing the Devils defenseman to leave the ice
on a stretcher. However, he was up and walking around following the game, but
he likely won't play tonight.
Most thought the hit by Carter was clean, even Devils head coach Jacques
"He was cutting inside and that blindside, that's where Carter came from,"
Lemaire told his team's Web site. "He hit him with his shoulder, so it's tough
to say. To me, it's a hit that happens, but you hate to see guys injured like
To make matters worse for the Devils, the Flyers tied the game before the end
of the second period thanks to goals from James van Riemsdyk and Carter, and
Mike Richards gave Philadelphia a 3-2 victory with a power-play goal with 7:58
left in the third.
"The last two or three minutes of the second period sparked us," said
Philadelphia's Chris Pronger, who had two assists. "Van Riemsdyk made a great
individual effort on his goal, and [Scott Hartnell] made a good pass to
[Carter] on the tying score. We haven't bounced back like that many times this
year and it couldn't have come at a better time."
Making his third straight start in place of Ray Emery, who is out with a left
hip injury, Michael Leighton halted 28 shots to help the Flyers snap a two-
Martin Brodeur, meanwhile, made 34 saves for the Devils.
Kovalchuk has gone without a point in two straight games for the Devils since
notching two assists in his debut last Friday. He has unleashed 17 shots in
his last two games, including nine versus the Flyers.
While New Jersey is two points ahead of Pittsburgh for first place in the
Atlantic Division, the Flyers are tied with the Bruins for the final playoff
spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers have taken three of four versus the Devils this year, including a
split of two games so far at the Prudential Center. However, Philadelphia's
5-2 victory there on October 3 was just its third win in its last 20 trips to
the Garden State.
02/10 10:31:06 ET