Flyers-Devils Preview

After stringing together two straight wins for the first time

all season, the New Jersey Devils were shut out in an embarrassing

loss their last time out.

It may not get much better with the NHL’s highest-scoring team

coming to town.

New Jersey meets the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday hoping for

a third straight win at the Prudential Center.

The Devils lost a matchup of the two worst teams in the Eastern

Conference on Friday, falling to the New York Islanders 2-0. The

Islanders ended a 14-game losing streak, and it was the fourth time

New Jersey (7-14-2) has been shut out. The Devils were held without

a goal six times last season.

New Jersey was unable to score during 58 seconds of a 5-on-3

advantage in the third period, ending hopes of a comeback.

“We put a burst on, but the Islanders are a young team, they

worked hard,” coach John MacLean told the Devils’ official website.

“They outworked us, and they deserved to win. You can’t expect to

play 20 minutes and think that you’re going to get a win, and we

didn’t.”

Ilya Kovalchuk hasn’t had a point in four straight games, and he

has one goal and three assists in his last 14. Kovalchuk has

recorded more penalty minutes (13) than points (10).

Johan Hedberg, starting his third straight game for the injured

Martin Brodeur, made 18 saves. It’s unclear whether he’ll start

Saturday, but Hedberg has won his last three matchups against

Philadelphia, posting a shutout Nov. 28, 2009, while playing with

Atlanta.

“Very frustrating, but we have to reload,” Hedberg said.

“There’s 20 hours until next puck drop and that’s going to be

another huge one. We can’t dwell on it too long. We have to learn

from it, I guess, and move on.”

New Jersey has lost six of seven to Philadelphia, which is

coming off a controversial 3-2 shootout loss Friday against

Calgary.

The Flyers (15-6-3) appeared to score in overtime, but Mike

Richards’ goal was disallowed due to an unsportsmanlike conduct

penalty on defenseman Chris Pronger. The referees determined

Pronger shielded Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff’s view

purposely with his hand.

Pronger insisted he was instructing his teammates on the ice and

it wasn’t his intent to interfere with Kiprusoff.

“I wasn’t turned around waving at him,” Pronger said. “I put my

hand back on my stick and the puck went in the net. It’s

infuriating. It should’ve been two points instead of one. There’s

no question about it. All you have to do is watch the replay. It

doesn’t really matter, does it? I’m not going to get into a he said

she said with the refs.”

James van Riemsdyk extended his goal-scoring streak to three and

he has six points in his last five games. Philadelphia, which leads

the NHL with 86 goals, was held under three for the first time in

five games.

The Flyers are 6-2-1 in their last nine and have won 12 of

16.