Devils 2, Flyers 1, SO
The strong play of backup goalie Johan Hedberg has made the
absence of Martin Brodeur less painful for the New Jersey
Hedberg made his fourth straight start Saturday and the Devils
beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in a shootout.
With Brodeur sidelined by a bruised elbow, Hedberg made 40 saves
through overtime, and then stopped three of four Flyers in the
”I think it’s a team thing for me,” Hedberg said. ”We started
something good a few games ago. It’s put the goaltender in a
different position. We’re way more sound. That’s the way we’ve got
With Hedberg holding off the top offensive team in the NHL, the
Devils pulled out their third win in the last four games. After a
5-13-2 start, New Jersey is trying to get back into the playoff
”It was a good week for us,” Devils coach John MacLean said.
”We need to look that we got six of eight points. Going into next
week, if we keep doing that, we’ll be in good shape.”
Travis Zajac scored in the fourth round of the shootout to give
the Devils the victory.
After the first four shooters missed, Nikolay Zherdev drilled a
shot between Hedberg’s pads. Jason Arnott countered against Brian
Boucher to keep the Devils alive.
Mike Richards led off the fourth round and hit the post. That
set the stage for Zajac, who beat Boucher with a neat fake.
”That’s the way we’re going to have to play the rest of the
year,” Zajac said. ”Points are important, especially since we’ve
fallen behind. Hedberg is the reason why we’ve been in these games.
He kept us in the game and gave us some momentum.”
Adam Mair scored the regulation goal for the Devils.
Danny Briere scored on a power play in the third period for
Philadelphia. This was the Flyers’ second straight shootout loss,
one they attributed to a strong effort by Hedberg.
”He played well,” Boucher said. ”He kept his team in there.
He played solid. After that first period, we seemed to pick up our
play and get more shots but you’ve got give Hedberg credit.”
Mair pickec the upper left corner from the right circle at 11:49
of the opening period, his first goal of the season.
Mair’s goal was a relief for the Devils, who squandered an
excellent opportunity when the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell got a
double-minor for high-sticking Brian Rolston 1:52 into the game.
New Jersey couldn’t cash in on the four-minute advantage. Ilya
Kovalchuk had the best chance on a slapper from the left circle
that Boucher blocked.
The Flyers’ best opportunities came late in the period, with
Hedberg coming up big against Jeff Carter’s drive from the left
Hedberg stopped 12 shots in the second period as the Devils
clung to the 1-0 lead.
Hedberg came way out of the net to stop Ville Leino and was
sharp again when Carter had another close-in try.
The Devils’ best chances in the period came from David Clarkson,
set up nicely by Mair only to be denied by Boucher’s diving save,
and Rolston, who hit the post.
The Flyers pressed hard for the equalizer early in the third and
came close several times. Hedberg stopped Carter again, diving out
to block a shot and he also had some luck as Leino hit the post on
a shot from the slot. The relentless pressure finally paid off as
Briere banked a close-in shot off Hedberg for a power-play goal at
”We progressed and got better as the game went on,” Flyers
coach Peter Laviolette said. ”We fought for a point in the third
period. Hedberg was pretty good, but our guy was too.”
Kovalchuk blew the best chance of the overtime, flubbing a
perfect feed in the slot from Zajac.
Notes: The game concluded a busy stretch for the Flyers, who
played 10 times in 17 days. … It was the first meeting between
the teams since the Flyers beat the Devils in five games in last
season’s opening-round playoff series. … Mair signed with the
Devils as a free agent on Oct. 12. The goal was his 38th in 571