After suffering through an awful six-game losing streak, the New Jersey Devils seem to be getting things back on track. The Devils have won two straight games and three of their last four behind the improving play of goaltender Johan Hedberg. Martin Brodeur remains sidelined with a back injury, and while he has resumed skating there is no definite timetable for his return. If the Devils are going to continue their winning ways, there couldn’t be a better opponent for them to do it against than the Philadelphia Flyers team they face tonight. In three prior meetings this season, the Devils are 3-0-0 against their Atlantic division rival.
Hedberg has allowed two goals in each of his last two outings, a huge improvement from the losing streak, during which he surrendered at least three goals per game. The Flyers desperately need the win tonight, and the Devils can take an eight-point lead over them with a regulation win tonight. The Devils sit sixth in the Eastern Conference standings at the moment, while the Flyers are 11th after losing four of their last five games.
The Devils got a 5-2 win over the Flyers on Wednesday, with Adam Henrique scoring two goals and adding an assist. Andrei Loktionov, Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias also scored, and Hedberg even even got involved offensively with an assist on Henrique’s first goal. The Devils have two power play goals against the Flyers this season, but have also surrendered two while on the penalty kill. They will need to limit the chances for the Flyers’ power play tonight, as it ranks sixth in the league. With rumors swirling that Flyers coach Peter Laviolette could lose his job with a loss tonight and Monday, his team is likely going to be incredibly motivated. If the Devils can continue their success against the Flyers, it will be a great step toward putting themselves in the playoffs while knocking out a division foe.