Flyers end slump, dominate Devils, 5-1

The Philadelphia Flyers and Mike Richards continue their domination over the New Jersey Devils. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers and Mike Richards continue their domination over the New Jersey Devils. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Five straight losses.  The ninth place Atlanta Thrashers a mere two points behind. Only seven games left in the regular season.

That is what was facing the Philadelphia Flyers going into Sunday night’s game against the division rival New Jersey Devils.

The Flyers, who have scored three goals only four times out of the last 10 games, burst out of their goal-scoring slump with a dominating 5-1 win over the Devils and they end the season series winning five of the six games.

Brian Boucher played one of his best games of the year, stopping 32-of-33 shots and getting only his sixth win of the season.

The Flyers struck early when Matt Carle, in his first game back since being sidelined two games with a deep bone bruise on his foot, scored from the top of the left circle just 53 seconds into the game.

Shortly after, the game became physical when Ian Laperriere and David Clarkson dropped the gloves at 6:06 of the first.

The Flyers fed off the energy and a little over two minutes later, Danny Briere skated around the net and fed a pass across the crease to Ville Leino, who stuffed it under goaltender Martin Brodeur for a 2-0 Flyers lead.

However, it was déjà-vu for the fans, who saw the Flyers carry a 2-0 lead into the second period against the Minnesota Wild three days earlier, but they lost that game 4-3 in overtime.

But this time around, the Flyers kept the pressure up. After going 0-for-20 on the power play over the last six games, the Flyers ended the streak when Kimmo Timonen blasted a shot from the point 45 seconds into the second period.

Boucher was tested heavily in the second period with four consecutive Devils power plays. Boucher was up to the challenge, stopping all 14 shots he faced in the period, and most notably, a breakaway by Patrik Elias with roughly 1:30 remaining in the second.

Adding to the theme of quick goals, with time running out in the second period, Laperriere shoveled the puck to Lukas Krajicek at the point, who flung a shot at the net and beat Brodeur for his first goal of the season and giving the Flyers a solid 4-0 lead with 40 seconds left.

The Flyers, who have been facing a melt-down in goal with the loss of Ray Emery, Michael Leighton and Johan Backlund all due to injuries, were finally a team on the upside in net. It was Brodeur who got the hook going into the third period and was replaced by Yann Danis, who only played 11 games this season.

Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk ended Boucher’s bid for a shutout 10:20 into the third period with a laser from the slot, something Boucher could do nothing to defend against.

The Flyers answered right back 32 seconds later with arguable the best line of the night comprised of Simon Gagne, Briere and Leino. Leino dished the puck over to Gagne, who was stationed at the side of the net. He deposited it behind Danis and made it 5-1.

Dan Carcillo received a match penalty of an extra high stick to the face of Clarkson late in the third period. All match penalties will be automatically reviewed by the league.  He could be facing a second suspension this season.

NOTES
The last time three Flyers defensemen scored in a game was Oct. 14, 2005 against Pittsburgh. … The Flyers outscored the Devils 20-13 in the season series. … With the win, the Flyers move back into sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 82 points, tied with the idle Montreal Canadiens. … 24-year-old Carter Hutton was called up as the backup goaltender in replace of injured Johan Backlund. … Hutton is on an amateur tryout with the Adirondack Phantoms, so he was only eligible to play one game with the Flyers.

[NHL VideoCenter – Game Highlights]

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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, Sports

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