Even without Martin Brodeur in goal for the opposition, the Philadelphia Flyers still couldn’t find a way to beat the New Jersey Devils. Sophomore Adam Henrique notched his first two-goal game of the season as the Flyers fell 5-2 to the Devils at the Prudential Center on Wednesday night. Patrik Elias continued his dominance of the Flyers with a goal and an assist while Johan Hedberg made 23 saves to secure victory for the home team. Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell would be the lone goal scorers for the Flyers, who have now lost four of their last five.
Heading in to Wednesday’s game, the Flyers were coming off a motivating 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday evening. They played that game with a great deal of energy and motivation and looked like a team ready to start making an uphill climb toward a playoff spot.
There were some changes though before the game on Wednesday evening as head coach Peter Laviolette decided to reunite Simon Gagne with Daniel Briere on the third line. They would be joined by the slumping youngster Sean Couturier. While this was a chosen alteration, the Flyers were also unexpectedly forced to change their line-up when it was announced defenseman Luke Schenn had the flu and wouldn’t be able to play. Kurtis Foster would slot in for him on Wednesday.
The Devils would strike just 2:02 into the first period when Flyer defenseman Andrej Mezaros lost the puck to Devils forward Adam Henrique behind the Flyers net. Henrique would feed the puck to the slot where Steve Bernier would fire a shot on net. Patrik Elias jumped on the rebound and deked to the backhand to slide the first goal of the game by Ilya Bryzgalov. Elias now has 80 points in 79 games versus the Flyers. Henrique would get his first point of the night on the play and he wasn’t done there.
The visitors would respond eight minutes later, however, when Jakub Voracek scored on the power-play. His team leading 13th goal of the season came off a beautiful pass down low from Wayne Simmonds. Voracek had gone pointless in his previous two games but got right back on the scoresheet Wednesday.
The Devils would get a lucky bounce later in the period when an Adam Henrique shot from the point deflected off the leg of Flyers forward Matt Read and into the net. The forward’s eighth goal of the season put the Devils up 2-1 midway through the first frame. Matt Read would be victimized again later on in the period when an ill-timed pinch on the power-play led to a partial shorthanded breakaway for Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk. The sniper would come down the right side all alone and rifle a shot high by Bryzgalov. The snipers goal was his fourth career shorthanded goal against the Flyers. It was 3-1 Devils heading into the first intermission.
There was one goal scored during the second period and it was quite the beauty. After a Flyers rush one way, the Devils came back the other direction two on one. Andrei Loktionov would carry the puck in with Kovalchuk streaking down the other side. Loktionov would force Flyers defenseman Coburn to bite and slide onto the ice. The Devils forward would then make a beautiful toe drag move before going backhand forehand and sniping a shot by the Russian goaltender Bryzgalov.
The Devils would get a power-play goal in the third period as Henrique would take a feed from Loktionov and put a backhand shot upstairs on Bryzgalov. It was the youngster’s second tally of the game and put the home team up 5-1. Scott Hartnell would add a goal late for the Flyers as he took a Voracek pass and roofed a shot on a sprawling Hedberg. That would be all the Flyers could muster as they fell 5-2.
- How about we just call it the failed experiment. The new Flyers third line of Briere, Gagne, and Couturier was a combined minus eight against the Devils. Ouch.
- This was the first time the Devils scored four goals in a game since a 5-3 win over the Flyers in February
- The Flyers are last in the Atlantic Division with a 12-15-1 record and could miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07
- It was the Devils’ third win over Philadelphia in three games so far this season. They will look for the season sweep when the two teams meet for the last time on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center