The Flyers came back from two goals down to beat the Devils for the second time in a row, sweeping the home-and-home series.
BY JAY BOEHMER, STAFF WRITER
45 seconds into the first, goalie Michael Leighton failed to stop a very manageable Travis Zajac shot and the Devils jumped to an early 1-0 lead. Rob Neidermayer made it 2-0 after blindly throwing the puck out front for a lucky bounce past Leighton. Thirty-two seconds later, Arron Asham scored notched the Flyers’ first off a quick shot over Martin Brodeur’s shoulder. Later in the first, Scott Hartnell seemingly got the puck across the goal line, but the review team determined it was not a goal.
The Flyers had a pair of exciting power plays in the first half of the second period, and each team went back and forth with their share of worthwhile shots and chances. With 6:13 remaining, Jeff Carter received a feed from Daniel Briere and ripped a shot past Martin Brodeur to tie the game at two goals a piece.
The third period belonged to the Devils. Outshot 7-1, the Flyers were unable to clear the zone on several occasions, and barely scraped by during a 5-on-3 advantage for New Jersey. They held on to take it into overtime, where Simon Gagne nearly found the back of the net more than once, and finished it with a wrist shot from the slot.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Simon Gagne: Gagne, having failed to score in his last 12 games, single-handedly won the game in overtime by creating chances all around the net before finally finishing it with a rocket of a wrist shot past Brodeur.
Arron Asham: Asham scored his first goal against his former team and goalie to start the Flyers’ comeback before even reaching the halfway point of the first period.
Jeff Carter: With his notorious wrist shot, Jeff Carter tied it in the second period to bring the Flyers back into the game and to ultimately set up the 3-2 overtime win.
Michael Leighton: After giving up an uncharacteristically weak goal to start the game and letting a lucky bounce sneak past him soon after, Leighton buckled down and made all of the saves he needed to keep his team in the game, stopping 21 of 23 on the night.
Flyers’ Defense: The Flyers have managed to shut down the Devils’ new star, Ilya Kovalchuk, for two straight games. Especially in the third period, being outshot 7-1 and outplayed for nearly all twenty minutes, the defense managed to keep the Devils to the perimeter, reducing the quality chances and keeping the game close until the offense could take control.
After a sluggish start and two regrettable goals given up, the Flyers buckled down and, for the second time in a row, scored three straight to overcome a 2-0 deficit. They showed signs of being the tight defensive team that they have the potential to play as and held off the surging Devils on more than one occasion.
With Simon Gagne, who has struggled to finish on his chances as of late, finally finding the back of the net, he may just be able to pick up some more points going forward.
The Flyers temporarily jumped in front of the Montreal Canadiens to secure 6th place in the East, but with a win over the Washington Capitals, Montreal pushed the Flyers back to 7th. The Flyers will meet Montreal for two final games before the Olympic break on this Friday and Saturday.