Unlike a 3-0 meeting back on Jan. 22, this one certainly wasn’t easy.
The game started off with a bang, seeing a goal from Travis Zajac just some 40 seconds into the contest. What? A horrid start to a game from the Flyers? Sounds familiar. However, the Flyers would ultimately get the last laugh of the first period, scoring three unanswered goals. It was Wayne Simmonds, Mike Knuble and Matt Read.
3-1, Flyers after one.
Just seconds into period number two, the Devils would light the lamp again. No, I am not kidding. This time, it was the return of Alexei Ponikarovsky that would hurt the Flyers, cutting the lead to one. Later on in the period, with about five minutes left, Patrick Elias would tie the game. This period was absolutely dominated by New Jersey, as the Flyers never really seemed to get into sync.
Philadelphia’s collapse would be completed about 10 minutes into the third, as David Clarkson deflected a shot past goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. It was his 10th goal of the season, ranking him third in all of hockey. New Jersey would then later add an empty-netter, ultimately winning by a score of 5-3. Clarkson’s goal went on to be the game-winner.
“I don’t know what it is, but I just keep going to the goal and eventually I’m going to get a chance to score,” Clarkson said. “A lot of it is just being in the right area. The biggest thing is that we’re winning and we’re getting the scoring spread out.
He sure was right about getting the scoring spread out. Goaltender Martin Brodeur even had an assist in this contest.
Ilya Kovalchuk also had a terrific game, posting three assists. His speed and athleticism got the offense deep into the Flyers zone, where he would drop off a perfect pass to a winger for the shot. Though sometimes overlooked, he remains one of the most dangerous players with the puck on his stick.
It’s wins like this one that remind people why the Devils are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and the Atlantic leaders. This unit has been involved in many close games this year, but manage to get the job done more often than not. With Broadeur playing solid as usual, along with a balanced scoring attack, New Jersey fans may be forgetting about former captain Zach Parise.
Then again, maybe not.