Game Two Live Game Blog: Kovalchuk’s Goal Extends Devils Lead, 5-3, In The Third Period

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Kovalchuk’s empty-net goal of the game with 32.9 seconds left in the third period extended the Devils lead over the Flyers, 5-3, in game two of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals tonight at the Prudential Center.

With Boucher on the bench for an extra attacker, Richards fanned on a shot from the point. Kovalchuk chased down the loose puck and carried it out to center ice. Jeff Carter broke his stick, and Kovalchuk sent a shot from above the blue line that went into the empty net for his first goal of these playoffs.

Parise’s second goal of the game at 15:56 of the third period put the Devils ahead of the Flyers, 4-3.

The first line did a great job of pinning the Flyers in their zone. Zubrus took the puck behind the net and skated out in front. He put a backhanded shot on net, and the rebound sat near the crease. Parise put the puck top-shelf for his second goal of the game.

Brodeur made a game-saving stop of Ian Laperriere at 11:10 of the third period. Daniel Carcillo stripped White of the puck in the Flyers offensive zone, and rushed up the ice. He drove the net, but his attempt was swatted away. The loose puck came to the side of the net, and Laperriere received a pass from a Flyer in front of the net. He tried to one-time the puck past Brodeur, but the Devils goalie stood tall and made the save.

The Devils just had their best chance of the period with the third line on the ice. Dean McAmmond, Rob Niedermayer and Brian Rolston kept the pressure on, and the point shots by Andy Greene and, eventually Dainius Zubrus gave Boucher fits. But the Devils couldn’t bury the puck.

So far, the Flyers have controlled the pace of play in the third period. They’ve already outshot the Devils, 4-0, and they’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the zone.

Chris Pronger’s powerplay goal at 18:48 of the second period pulled the Flyers even with the Devils, 3-3.

With the team’s playing 4-on-4 hockey, Greene took an interference penalty, giving the Flyers a 4-on-3 advantage. Richards and Kimmo Timonen played pitch and catch, looking for an opportunity to shoot. Timonen fired a shot from the top of the circles that Pronger deflected past Brodeur for his second goal of the playoffs.

Pronger spent considerable time in front of the net, and cut off the sightline of Brodeur.

After the Devils goal, they put some great pressure on Boucher. Boucher had to be strong, and made several nice saves on in-tight scoring attempts from the Devils.

Andy Greene’s powerplay goal at 13:25 put the Devils ahead, 3-2.

With Giroux in the box for hooking, Kovalchuk controlled the puck at the point. He passed the puck to Elias, who skated near the right sideboards. The left-winger held the puck, drawing two Flyers’ penalty killers towards him. Greene snuck down from the point and into the slot area, where Elias found him with a tape to tape pass. Greene one-timed a puck past Boucher for his first goal of these playoffs.

Before that goal, the Devils had to kill off three straight Flyers’ powerplays. While Philadelphia almost scored on their first opportunity of the period – a two-minute minor to Andy Greene for high-sticking – they didn’t get great opportunities with their other two advantages.

Kovalchuk has continually taken dumb penalties tonight. He’s been very aggressive, but he’s also been undisciplined. Kovalchuk was sent to the box after slashing Mike Richards at 7:54 of the period. After tangling with Darroll Powe during a false start, Powe interfered with Kovalchuk after the faceoff. Kovalchuk, clearly angered by the non-call, went after Richards, slashing him in the back of the leg and cross-checking him. While it didn’t cost the Devils on the powerplay, Kovalchuk will make his impact scoring and not being a “tough guy.”

The Devils tied the game at two with Colin White’s second career playoff goal at 3:44 in the second period.

After taking a pass from Kovalchuk, White took a low shot from the right circle that trickled through Boucher’s pads for his first goal of these playoffs. It was his first goal since scoring the only goal in a 1-0 shootout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals (April 19, 2000).

The Devils outshot the Flyers, 11-7, after one period.

Claude Giroux gave the Flyers the lead, 2-1, with 4:30 in the first period.

With David Clarkson in the box for tripping, Matt Carle fired a shot from the point. Giroux deflected the puck through the pads of Brodeur for his first playoff goal this season.

That’s two goals on five shots for the Flyers, but neither has truly been Brodeur’s fault.

Former Devil Aaron Asham tied the game, 1-1, at 9:33 of the first period. Giroux skated from behind the net, bringing the puck to the left circle. Asham worked himself behind the Devils defense and fired the puck into the empty right-side of the net for his first goal of these playoffs.

Zach Parise gave the Devils an early lead, 1-0, with a shorthanded goal 2:45 into the game.

With Ilya Kovalchuk in the box for elbowing, Chris Pronger attempted to pass the puck to Matt Carle. Carle couldn’t handle the pass, and fanned on a shot attempt. Patrik Elias chased down the puck and sent a saucer pass to Parise, springing him free. Parise went to the backhand, roofing the puck over Boucher for his first goal of these playoffs.

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Here were the starting lineups:

Flyers:

Scott Hartnell-Jeff Carter-Danny Briere; Chris Pronger-Matt Carle; Brian Boucher

Devils:

Zach Parise-Patrik Elias-Dainius Zubrus; Bryce Salvador-Martin Skoula; Martin Brodeur

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Jay Pandolfo, Rod Pelley, Vladimir Zharkov and Anssi Salmela were the healthy scratches tonight for the Devils. Matt Corrente took Pelley’s position on the fourth line.

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