Series (Game 4 of 6)

Philadelphia leads 5-1

Game 1: Saturday, October 3rd
Game 2: Monday, November 16th
Game 3: Saturday, December 12th
Game 4: Monday, February 8th
Game 5: Wednesday, February 10th
Game 6: Sunday, March 28th

Devils 2

(36-20-2, 74 pts)

Flyers 3

(29-25-3, 61 pts)

Coverage: NBCSN

7:00 PM ET, February 8, 2010

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
NJ 1 1 02
PHI 0 2 13

M. Richards (Flyers - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Z. Parise (Devils - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

M. Leighton (Flyers - G): Saves: 28, Save Pct.: .933

Devils-Flyers Preview


In an attempt to spark their sputtering offensive play, the New Jersey Devils acquired Ilya Kovalchuk. Martin Brodeur's recent struggles, however, also have contributed to their rough stretch.

The two superstars will try to help the Atlantic Division-leading Devils win for just the fifth time in 14 tries Monday night when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers to open a home-and-home set.

New Jersey (36-19-2) is averaging 1.75 goals in 16 games since a 4-0 win over Dallas on Jan. 5, ranking better than only Boston's 1.71 over that period.

The Devils' offensive struggles prompted them to acquire Kovalchuk in a blockbuster five-player trade Thursday with Atlanta that also included three draft picks.

Kovalchuk, who had 31 goals and 27 assists with the Thrashers prior to the deal, made an immediate impact in his Devils' debut Friday, getting two assists as New Jersey scored twice in the final 43.7 seconds to rally for a 4-3 win over Toronto.

The sudden scoring surge failed to continue Saturday, when New Jersey fell 3-1 at the New York Rangers despite a 42-25 shot advantage. Kovalchuk had all eight of his shots stopped by Henrik Lundqvist.

"They scored three goals, we scored one," coach Jacques Lemaire told the team's official Web site. "They had breaks, we didn't. It's not that they didn't play a good game, they played an excellent game, but I think we had great chances. The goalie was great for them when he had to be. If you look at their goals, it's breaks."

The Devils are 4-8-1 during a stretch that has reduced their division lead from eight points to two on second-place Pittsburgh.

While Kovalchuk is still seeking his first goal for the Devils, Brodeur is 2-3-1 with a 2.94 goals-against average and an .878 save percentage in his last six starts.

The four-time Vezina Trophy winner has given up at least three goals in four consecutive games. He made 22 saves Saturday after totaling 17 versus Toronto. Despite his recent struggles, Brodeur is still tied for the NHL lead with seven shutouts and fifth with a 2.25 GAA.

Brodeur has lost his last four starts in Philadelphia with a 3.32 GAA, while Kovalchuk has 11 goals and 11 assists in 15 games there with Atlanta.

The left wing will also gets another chance to play a division rival after jawing and trading blows with the Rangers' Sean Avery as they both earned double minors for roughing.

"That's hockey. It's an emotional sport," Kovalchuk said. "There's nothing wrong with it."

The Devils have dropped two of three to the Flyers, but won the last meeting 4-1 in Newark on Dec 12. They're 1-3-1 in the last five visits to Philadelphia, falling 3-2 there Nov. 16

The Flyers are also struggling offensively, falling 2-1 at Minnesota on Saturday after losing 1-0 at NHL-worst Edmonton three nights earlier. Left wing Daniel Carcillo, the team's enforcer, had the only goal on 72 total shots in those contests.

"It's frustrating, we're getting the opportunities, we just have that lack of scoring touch," said center Mike Richards, who is tied with Jeff Carter for the team lead with 22 goals. "We're hitting posts, and then posts that come out."

Carter, who has a team-high 47 points, is on a five-game goal drought. He's failed to get a point in the last two meetings with New Jersey.

Richards has been held to three goals in his last 13 games overall and has one goal in his last 13 versus the Devils.

The teams meet again Wednesday in New Jersey.