Comeback kids: Flyers fight back to beat Devils

PHILADELPHIA- If the Flyers were going to break their scoring drought, who better to do it against than Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. For the first time since 2005, the Flyers rallied from a 2-0 deficit by scoring three unanswered goals to beat the Devils 3-2 last night from the Wachovia Center.

After a rough first period where the Flyers look s unbalanced and lost, they rebounded and competed with number one team in the Atlantic division and beat them at their own game.

Philadelphia finally found the back of the net, finally found a way to generate quality scoring chances that resulted in goals. They did it against the best of the best, Martin Brodeur.

“As a team, we knew we just needed to get more pucks at the net with second opportunities,” said captain Mike Richards.

“We did that: we kept on going, kept on going. [Brodeur] made some big saves, and then we kind of got that lucky bounce which gave us some confidence. And it’s nice when the scoring’s spread out through a couple lines – it makes it a lot easier.”

Coach Peter Laviolette didn’t necessarily believe they put on a scoring lesson, but they did take giant steps forward.

“Doesn’t seem like the dam broke with three, but we’ll take them,” Laviolette said. “We’ve been generating a lot of chances and putting pucks at the net and trying to get in there for rebounds and tips and second opportunities. Tonight they dropped.”

It looked rough early on. The Devils capitalized on their first power play opportunity at 7:oo when Zach Parise shot a puck that ricochet off Chris Pronger’s skate and passed Michael Leighton to make it 1-0.

The Devils made it 2-0 just over a minute into the second when Annsi Salmela took a quick snapshot just a few feet in front of Leighton over his right shoulder.

Salmela paid the price.

As soon the puck left his stick, Jeff Carter caught Salmela with head down. Salmela took a lethal shoulder to the head and hit the ice face first. The hit was legal, shoulder to head with the biggest impact coming from his face slamming the ice.

Salmela lay motionless until he began moving all extremities when asked by trainers. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher and later deemed OK.

Carter was obviously remorseful after the game.

“He was driving wide, I’m coming back,” Carter said. “I saw the replay, I got him right in the shoulder. Apparently he’s OK, which is a good thing, but im not a dirty player. I’ve never been suspended. I rarely hit, so it’s unfortunate that he got hurt, I’m glad he was all right. That’s just not my game.”

Even though the scoreboard had the Devils up 2-0. It was clear that Leighton kept his team in the game and gave them a chance to try to write this ship.

James van Riemsdyk put the Flyers on the board at 18:24 of the second period when he sped through center ice and snapped a quick wrist shot go that stunned Brodeur to make 2-1.

The raucous crowd at the Wachovia Center didn’t even have time to blink.

Chris Pronger once again showed his brilliant vision at 19:36 when he saw a streaking Scott Hartnell and had Carter coming up along side and a 2-on-1 developed. Hartnell sent a pass over the Carter who beat Brodeur easily to tie things up at 2-2.

“Harts (Hartnell) made a good pass over to Cartsy (Carter), with 25 seconds to go in the second, and to bounce back like that – we haven’t done it very often this year –and it couldn’t come at a better time,” Pronger said.

The Flyers put the nail in the Devils couffin 12:02 in regulation. Kimmo Timonen carried the ouck behind the net and found Richards standing in the slot. Timonen sent a crisp dish to an open Richards finished the job and beat Brodeur.

Of course, not every Flyers game can end as sweet as that.

Timonen took a bad boarding penalty with just under two minutes to play. New Jersey went into desperation mode and sent five forwards to try and tie things and head to overtime.

The Flyers stifled the Devils offense to hold on to the lead and beat the Atlantic division leaders 3-2. Superstar Ilya Kovalchuk was held to zero points on nine shots.

The Flyers will head over to the Prudential Center in Newark where they will play the second half of their home-and-home with the Devils tomorrow night.

Coach Laviolette said it best when he stated that they can’t look ahead of tomorrow night’s game. They have to focus on how their going to beat the Devils at home and then they can concentrate on the Canadiens.


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