Flyers-Devils Preview

After wasting a golden opportunity to rise in the standings, the Philadelphia Flyers seek a bounce-back effort Sunday as they continue to pursue a playoff spot.

They’ll face the New Jersey Devils, whose postseason dreams can ill-afford any more letdowns the rest of the way.

Philadelphia (28-25-13) trailed Boston by four points in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference entering Saturday’s contest, and looked to have edged the Bruins following a third-period goal from Chris VandeVelde.

However, Boston scored the tying goal with 15 seconds remaining, then won in overtime 3-2, placing Philadelphia five points back of the playoff picture.

”It hurts," coach Craig Berube said. "But crushing? I don’t know about that. I mean, we’ve got to go play (New Jersey) tomorrow, so I’m done with this game. We got a point, should have had two, but it didn’t happen.”

Steve Mason posted another strong performance with 34 saves, and has earned at least one point in all four starts since returning from a lower-body injury on Feb. 26. Mason, though, could give way Sunday to backup Ray Emery in the second half of this back-to-back.

Emery has not played since losing 3-2 in a shootout to Buffalo on Feb. 19. He is 1-1-0 against New Jersey this season, including a 5-2 loss on Jan. 3 in which he was replaced by Mason after allowing three first-period goals.

Jaromir Jagr, now with Florida, recorded a hat trick in that win. In four games since trading the veteran winger, Michael Cammalleri and Andy Greene have tallied three points apiece, Jordin Tootoo and Travis Zajac each have two goals, and the Devils (27-28-10) are 2-1-1.

Tootoo and Peter Harrold scored Friday, but the Devils’ playoff chances took a heavy hit with a 3-2 loss to Columbus.

"That was a game we had to have. We have to have every game right now," goaltender Cory Schneider said. "Time is not on our side, we’re running out of games here. Obviously every game is critical, and it’s tough to lose in regulation at home to a team we just beat (2-0 on Feb. 28)."

The Devils sit five points behind Philadelphia in the Metropolitan Division.

Schneider, who has appeared in 12 consecutive games, allowed more than two goals for only the second time in eight starts. He ranks among the league leaders with a 2.18 goal-against average, and is 2-1-0 with a 3.01 GAA this season against the Flyers.

"I feel alright," Schneider said. "I feel fine … but if I’m giving up three, four goals, it’s not going to help our team’s chances. For me, it’s always got to be one better."

Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds has three goals in three meetings with New Jersey this season. He scored twice in Philadelphia’s loss on Oct. 9, and added another goal in the Flyers’ 4-1 win over Schneider and the Devils on Dec. 11.