Throughout the offseason, Running With The Devils will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Analysis/Reaction” tab. In today’s preview, we go to the Atlantic Division, taking a look at this season’s matchup with a hated rival, the Philadelphia Flyers.
Flyers vs. Devils – Historical Data
In 204 all-time meetings against the Flyers, the Devils are 88-95-13-3. In those 204 matchups, the Devils have averaged 2.97 goals against Philadelphia, but have allowed the Flyers to average 3.42 per meeting. Last season, the Devils went 1-4-1 against their rivals during the regular season. The Flyers also defeated the Devils, 4-1, in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, ending the Devils season.
The Devils opened their season against the Flyers, losing the opener, 5-2, at the Prudential Center. Jeff Carter opened the scoring, giving the Flyers a lead, 1-0, at 15:57 of the first period. The Flyers continued the offensive output in the second period. Ian Laperriere netted an even-strength tally at 9:20 of the period to extend the Flyers lead to 2-0. Mike Richards would add a goal at 15:23 to push the Flyers lead to 3-0. But the offense wouldn’t stop there.
Darrell Powe increased the Flyers lead to 4-0 with an even-strength goal at 7:34 of the third period. Brian Rolston ruined Ray Emery’s shutout, scoring a powerplay goal at 9:44 of the period to bring the score to 4-1. Matt Carle would reinstate the four-goal lead, scoring at 11:13 to put the Flyers ahead, 5-1. Jamie Langenbrunner tallied a shorthanded goal at 13:40 to cut the lead to 5-2.
The Flyers would once again defeat the Devils, 3-2, on November 16 in Philadelphia. Powe opened the scoring, giving the Flyers a lead, 1-0, with an even strength goal at 7:11 of the first period. Scott Hartnell increased the lead to 2-0, scoring with the man-advantage only 44 seconds into the second period. David Clarkson cut the deficit in half, tallying a powerplay goal at 15:42 of the period. James van Riemsdyk scored the eventual game-winning goal at 10:38 of the third period, increasing the Flyers lead to 3-1. Zach Parise scored an even-strength goal at 19:59 of the third, bringing the score to 3-2.
The Devils defeated the Flyers, 4-1, for their only win against their rivals on December 12 at the Prudential Center. Niclas Bergfors scored the game’s first goal, putting the Devils ahead, 1-0, with a powerplay tally at 2:33 of the first period. Bergfors would strike again on the man advantage at 12:31, extending the Devils lead to 2-0. Patrik Elias netted his then-300th career goal at 15:47 of the period, increasing the Devils lead to 3-0.
Claude Giroux snapped the shutout at 15:03 of the second period, netting a powerplay goal and bringing the score to 3-1. Elias scored another goal at 19:26 of the period, upping the Devils lead to 4-1. Martin Brodeur finished with 22 saves (and a powerplay assist) in the win. Brian Boucher stopped 24 shots in the loss.
The Flyers defeated the Devils on February 8, winning the first game of a home-and-home series, 3-2, at the Wachovia Center. Parise gave the Devils an early lead, netting a powerplay goal at 7:00 minutes of the first period for a 1-0 advantage. Anssi Salmela doubled the Devils lead, scoring a shorthanded goal at 1:01 of the second period. But the defenseman paid a hefty price, as Carter leveled him as he took the shot. Salmela would lay motionless on the ice, and was eventually taken off on a stretcher (here’s the video).
After that hit, the ice titled in the Flyers favor. Van Riemsdyk scored at 18:24 to cut the Devils lead to 2-1. Carter tied the game at 19:36, scoring an even-strength goal to knot the game at 2-2. Richards scored the game-winning goal, scoring with the man advantage at 12:02 of the third period to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead.
The Flyers defeated the Devils, 3-2, the very next night in the second game of the home-and-home series. Travis Zajac gave the Devils an early lead, scoring an even-strength goal 45 seconds into the first period to give the Devils a 1-0 edge. Rob Niedermayer doubled the lead, giving the Devils a 2-0 lead at 8:01 of the period. But the Devils would once again cough up the lead.
Arron Asham scored at 8:33 of the first period to cut the deficit, shrinking the Devils lead to 2-1. Carter then tied the game in the second period, scoring at 13:47 to tie the game, 2-2. Both teams remained scoreless until overtime, when Simon Gagne scored the game-winner at 3:27 of the extra period to win the game, 3-2.
The Flyers bludgeoned the Devils in their last meeting of the regular season, defeating New Jersey, 5-1, in Philadelphia. Carle began the scoring, giving the Flyers a lead, 1-0, 53 seconds into the first period. Villie Leino doubled the lead, scoring an even-strength goal at 8:18 to increase the lead, 2-0. Kimmo Timonen upped the lead to 3-0 with a powerplay goal 45 seconds into the second period. Lukas Krajicek pushed the lead to 4-0, scoring at 19:20 of the period. Ilya Kovalchuk broke the shutout, beating Boucher at 10:20 of the third period to bring the score to 4-1. Gagne would end the game’s scoring, pushing the Flyers lead to 5-1 at 10:52 of the final period.
Devils vs. Flyers – This Season’s Matchup
The Devils and Flyers face off six times this season, with their first game coming on November 27 at The Rock. Both teams will play a home-and-home series, with the teams in New Jersey on January 6 and Philadelphia on January 8. Both teams also play on April 1, which can have implications on playoff seeding and division standings.
The Flyers, surprisingly, didn’t make any significant changes in net during the offseason. The team let Emery go, opting to re-sign playoff hero Michael Leighton to a two-year contract extension. The Flyers continued to bolster their already stout blueline, re-signing Braydon Coburn to a two-year extension and Sean O’Donnell to a one-year deal. Philadelphia then traded stalwart Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lighting for defenseman Matt Walker and a fourth round draft choice.
The team also added some muscle, signing former Rangers enforcer Jody Shelley to a three-year contract. Nikolai Zherdev was signed by the Flyers, and agitator Dan Carcillo was re-signed to a one-year contract.
The Flyers left a bad taste in the mouths of every Devils fan last April. The way they systematically knocked the Devils out of the playoffs last season still stings. Over the past few seasons, the Flyers have become stiff competition for the Devils. These games are always tough, always physical, and always entertaining. Expect the Devils to be extra motivated because of the whooping the Flyers put on them last season. It’ll be great to see these two rivals go at it six times this season.
Chris Pronger led all players with seven assists, including two on the powerplay…Giroux was a Devil killer last year, recording seven points (one goal, six assists) during the regular season…Elias, Parise and Rolston all recorded five points against Philadelphia…In 80 all-time matchups against the Flyers (79 starts), Brodeur is 44-27-6-3 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage with nine shutouts…Last season marked the first time the Devils lost five games to the Flyers in the regular season since 1988-89 (2-5-0).
Handshake Line Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Parise and Kovalchuk Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images