National Hockey League
Flyers-Devils Preview
National Hockey League

Flyers-Devils Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 2:49 p.m. ET

Outstanding goaltending and defense made the New Jersey Devils a perennial playoff participant during the previous two decades.

That same formula may help them get back there after a three-year drought.

The surging Devils vie for a fourth straight win and second over the Philadelphia Flyers in four days when the longtime rivals face off Tuesday night.

In a season where it's averaging an NHL-low 2.19 goals, New Jersey (29-21-7) is right in the playoff mix by being the league's stingiest team. The Devils have lowered their league-leading goals-against average to 2.18 by yielding 18 over an 8-2-2 stretch that's vaulted them into one of the Eastern Conference's two wild-card spots.


''You can't say it's a fluke at this point in the season,'' forward Lee Stempniak said. ''We've worked extremely hard.''

New Jersey has relied heavily upon standout goaltender Cory Schneider, second in the league with 47 starts, but received an excellent stand-in performance from Keith Kincaid to extend the streak. The seldom-used backup made 28 saves for his first career shutout in Sunday's 1-0 victory over Los Angeles.

"I credit our goalie coach Chris Terreri; he's done a great job with both our goalies and I think (Kinkaid) has done a fantastic job of being able to stay ready and perform when called upon," first-year coach John Hynes told the NHL's official website.

Schneider got a break after recording 31 saves in Saturday's 2-1 win in Philadelphia, his seventh consecutive outing allowing two goals or less. The All-Star owns a 1.56 GAA over that span and a league-leading 1.98 mark this season.

Another strong effort could be in the works with Philadelphia (24-21-10) in the midst of an offensive funk. The Flyers have managed one goal in three of their past four games and didn't score until the final seconds of Sunday's 3-1 defeat to the New York Rangers.

Philadelphia, seventh in the eight-team Metropolitan Division, has lost five of six.

"Those were two big points that we needed," forward Wayne Simmonds said. "But, short memories. We've got to forget about this one and move on to New Jersey on Tuesday night."

On a positive note, Shayne Gostisbehere assisted on Brayden Schenn's late goal to extend his point streak to 12 games, the longest by a rookie defenseman in NHL history. The 22-year-old has 15 points over the run.

Simmonds has scored eight of his team-leading 20 goals over the last 10 games and had one in the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win at New Jersey on Dec. 4. The road team has won all three 2015-16 meetings, with the Devils earning a 4-1 victory in Philadelphia on Oct. 29 behind Schneider's 27 saves and Travis Zajac's two power-play goals.

New Jersey, 5-0-1 in its last six at home, is 5 of 11 on the power play against the Flyers this season, and the unit has accounted for all five goals during the winning streak. The Devils have converted a league-leading 42.9 percent (12 of 28) of their chances over the last 10 games, including 8 of 14 in five home outings.


Get more from National Hockey League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more