Devils beat Flyers 6-2 to snap 10-game winless streak
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) If the Devils could just play the Philadelphia Flyers every night, maybe that winless streak would not have reached 10 games, and New Jersey would be doing more than playing meaningless games in the final month.
Adam Henrique and Taylor Hall scored two goals apiece and the Devils snapped a 10-game winless streak with a 6-2 victory over the inconsistent Flyers on Thursday night.
The win was the Devils’ third in as many games with Philadelphia and it gave them a 17-5-3 record against their New Jersey Turnpike rivals since the start of the 2011-12 season.
Henrique could not explain the success.
“Sometimes there are just those matchups and this has been one of them for us,” he said. “Maybe we could have played them a few times in this stretch and it would have been nice but i don’t know if it’s anything specific or not but every time we play them, we play a solid game start to finish and obviously find a way to get those extra goals.
New Jersey has outscored Philadelphia 13-3 this season. This latest rout set a season-high for goals and ended an 0-8-2 streak, its longest without a win since going (0-7-4) in 1990-91.
“We’re probably not going to make the playoffs this year, so for us we have to come to the rink, have fun, enjoy what we are doing,” Hall said. “The way to get out of funks like that is to just go play, trust each other, and you saw that tonight.”
Kyle Palmieri and Joseph Blandisi also scored as New Jersey
Keith Kinkaid made 17 saves for the Devils, who lost seven one-goal games during their skid.
Michael Del Zotto and Brayden Schenn scored the Flyers, who lost goaltender Steve Mason to leg cramps on Hall’s first goal early in the third period, a spectacular one-handed shot on a breakaway that gave the Devils a 4-2 lead.
The loss came just one night after the Flyers blanked the Penguins in one of their best games of the season.
“We were flat. No idea why?” Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. “We knew it was a big game for us. Like I said, we were slower. That’s why we lost.”
The loss leaves the Flyers six points out of a playoff spot with 12 games to play.
“We didn’t win enough of the races, enough of the battles tonight. That’s the bottom line,” Flyer coach Dave Hakstol said.
New Jersey took the lead for good when Henrique and Blandisi scored just under four minutes apart in the second period for a 3-1 lead.
Henrique got his 17th when Beau Bennett found him in front after a Flyers turnover behind the net. Blandisi tallied his third on a deflection of a power-play shot by Damon Severson.
Schenn redirected a pass from the point past Kinkaid at 11:13 for his 21st goal, cutting the lead to a goal.
Taylor gave the Devils breathing room at 1:33 of the third, just seconds after breaking his stick trying to one-time a pass from the right circle. He raced back to the Devils bench at the other end of the ice, took a pass from Travis Zajac, staked around Del Zotto at the point and deked Mason out of a position, depositing his shot into the net with only his right hand on his stick.
Mason was helped off the ice after the play.
“It’s one of those things you practice,” Hall said. “Sometimes at the end of ice time, the coaches aren’t there and working on little things and it was huge that the ice was fresh and pucks weren’t bouncing.”
Michal Neuvirth finished, and Henrique got his second goal, putting a rebound past him at 4:08. Hall scored into an empty net with 4:39 to play.
The Devils’ game against Winnipeg on Tuesday night was postponed by a major snowstorm, so this was their first contest since Saturday. The Flyers blanked the Penguins on Wednesday.
Del Zotto gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with three minutes left in the first period, converting a great centering pass by Voracek.
After a faceoff win by Zajac, Palmieri tied the game with his eighth goal in his last 11 games, and his third in the last two.
NOTES: Flyers F Jordan Weal (lower body) returned after missing Wednesday night’s game. … F John Quenneville was in the Devils’ lineup for the third time this season after being recalled from Albany (AHL) on Wednesday. … The teams have two more games this season, both next month. …
Flyers: Return home to host Carolina on Sunday.
Devils: At Pittsburgh on Friday night in the second game of a back-to-back.