EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The unlikely hero of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals helped the New Jersey Devils end an unexpectedly long home winless streak.
Mike Rupp scored his second goal of the game with 8:43 to play and the Devils won for the first time at home this season by rallying for a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
"It was my best game, not just because I scored," Rupp said.
"I think I was using my body and our line was establishing a
forecheck. We had a solid game."
It brought back memories of last June when Rupp scored twice in
the Devils' 3-0 win in Game 7, making him an instant hero.
This season has been anything but that for Rupp. He did not earn
a point in his first six games.
"With the excitement he had in Game 7 last year he was looking for a better start," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said of Rupp. "He always seems to play that big game and get a few goals. Hopefully, he will be able to do it more often."
The Devils are also hoping this turns things around at home.
They were 0-3-1 before Thursday's game and they were in danger of
losing another after falling behind 2-0 in the first period.
"We battled back," Brodeur said. "That shows a lot about the
character of our team. We've had a hard go in our building."
Scott Stevens set up the game-winner and scored another goal for the Devils, who held Philadelphia without a shot in the opening 17 minutes, 41 seconds of the final period.
"We think we are on their level, but they continue to do the proper things from the first line to the fourth line to the six
defensemen," Flyers forward Mark Recchi said. "They never change. If we could have kept our tempo in the second period it would have been a different game. We have to learn from this."
Brodeur finished with 14 saves as the Stanley Cup champions won consecutive games for the first time this season. His only stop in the third was a good glove save on Simon Gagne.
Tony Amonte and Gagne scored for the Flyers, who seemed to run out of gas playing their second game in as many nights. The loss snapped a three-game (2-0-1) unbeaten streak.
Rupp started the Devils' comeback with a goal in the opening
minute of the second period. He scored the game-winner with a slap
shot from top of the left circle that trickled between the glove
and the pads of a disgusted Jeff Hackett.
"It was an in-betweener," said Hackett, who had 25 saves.
Badly outplayed in the opening period, the Devils tied it in the second.
Rupp, who didn't have a point in six games this season, got New Jersey going by redirecting a cross-ice pass by Patrik Elias past Hackett 34 seconds into the period.
Stevens tied it with a power-play goal at 12:42. The Devils got a break with the extra man when Jeremy Roenick broke his stick, and the Flyers never cleared the puck out of their zone.
Despite being outshot 10-7 in the first period, the Flyers had
the better scoring chances.
Amonte gave Philadelphia the lead at 9:08 beating Brodeur with the rebound of Roenick's shot. The play was set up by a Flyers'
faceoff win after the Devils' John Madden was tossed out of the circle.
Gagne stretched the margin to 2-0 with 2:18 left in the period, when he stole a pass by Stevens and beat Brodeur on a breakaway.
Game Notes: The Devils activated RW Turner Stevenson off the injured list and placed rookie D David Hale on it with a groin injury. ...
Roenick hit a goal post in the first period, and Igor Larionov hit one for the Devils in the second. ... The game was the 999th -- all types -- the Devils have played at Continental Airlines Arena.