Philadelphia, P.A. - The New Jersey Devils played a hard fought game with the Philadelphia Flyers for the home-and-home series finale. It was a tight physical game, but the Devils could not quite put it away.
The Devils were coming off of an offensive explosion Wednesday, when they beat the Flyers 5-2 at home.
Today was a defensive struggle.
David Clarkson knotted the game up with his 11th goal of the year, his first in 13 games. The goal came at 6:09 in the second as he deflected defenseman Bryce Salvador’s shot.
Both teams had a multitude of scoring chances with many shots, but the goaltending rose up to the occasion. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 27 shots, Hedberg stopped 21.
The Devils got a big chance on a power play late in the third when Brayden Schenn of the Flyers charged Peter Harrold, targeted the head, and left his feet. The hit should get looked at by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, but most likely will not end up in a suspension.
Harrold was reported fine after the hit and remained in the game.
On the power play opportunity, the Flyers got a break as the puck trickled just past the post on a point shot.
The Devils also outplayed the Flyers in overtime, but just could not seem to find the net.
In the shootout, the Devils and Flyers both scored on their first shooters, but the Flyers got the advantage on a shot from Claude Giroux. Clarkson and Elias both could not tie up the shootout resulting in a loss.
Even though they lost, Hedberg played one of his best games all season. He stepped up and made some great saves when it came down to the wire, but did not get any offensive support.
Hedberg has given up two goals or less in his last three starts. The rough patch previous to these games could not entirely be blamed on him. The defense for the Devils would not give Hedberg many chances to make saves. Coincidentally, the defense has stepped up over the past few games as well, allowing Hedberg to play well.
The Devils lost an offensive presence early on in the game when Andrei Loktionov “tweaked” something early in the first period and never returned to the ice. Loktionov’s condition has not been released yet.
Stephen Gionta left the ice for a period of time as his lower-back tightened up in the second. Gionta returned to the game later on.
The shootout loss snapped the Devils seven consecutive win streak over the Flyers. However, they moved up into sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 32 points.
The Devils go home to take on the first place Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night at the Prudential Center.
Prior to the game, the Devils will honor long-term goaltending coach Jacques Caron. Caron was with the Devils through all three Stanley Cup wins (95′,00′,03′).