Flyers at Devils – 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
Flyers: 12-14-1 (Fifth in Atlantic Division, 11th in Eastern Conference)
Devils: 12-9-5 (Second in Atlantic Division, seventh in Eastern Conference)
The last time these two Atlantic Division rivals faced off the Flyers played a sensational first period, despite allowing a goal in the game’s first shift, but imploded in the final two frames of a 5-3 loss to the Devils on Feb. 15. Wayne Simmonds, Mike Knuble and Matt Read each scored in a span of 2:36 in the first period, which was the fastest three markers the Flyers have ever scored on Martin Brodeur, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Wednesday will mark the third of five meetings between these two clubs this season – and the final game played at the Prudential Center in the 2013 campaign. The last two contests will be played at Wells Fargo Center. New Jersey has won the first two matchups and has outscored the Flyers by an 8-3 margin in those games.
The Flyers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. Claude Giroux, Simon Gagne and Max Talbot netted the Flyers’ three tallies and Ilya Bryzgalov made 18 saves to earn his 12th win of the season. The win kept the orange and black in striking distance for a playoff spot, but the team will need to put a string of victories together if they want to play in the postseason.
Johan Hedberg turned aside 23 saves and stopped all three Winnipeg attempts in the shootout to lift the Devils to a 3-2 win over the Jets on Sunday. Patrik Elias scored the only goal of the shootout after Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta had markers in regulation for the Devils, who won for just the fourth time in 14 games (4-8-2).
Veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen has collected one goal and four assists over his last three games. All four of his helpers during that span have come on the power play. The blueliner is tied for third on the Flyers in scoring with 19 points through 27 games this season.
For the Devils, Ilya Kovalchuk enters Wednesday's rivalry matchup riding a four-game point streak. The Russian sniper has recorded two goals and three assists in those games and has lit up the Flyers for 13 pints in his last seven contests against the orange and black.
Sean Couturier is in the midst of a sophomore slump. The 20-year-old center has not recorded a single point in nine consecutive games and is on pace to finish this lockout-shortened season with a minus-15 rating. In an effort to shake things up, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette moved Danny Briere to Couturier’s line – along with veteran winger Simon Gagne – during practice on Tuesday.
David Clarkson has struggled mightily as of late for New Jersey. After putting up 10 goals and six assists in his 14 games this season, Clarkson has just two assists over his past 12 contests.
Keep an eye on...
The Flyers open a crucial home-and-home series with the Devils on Wednesday. New Jersey holds the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with 29 points – four more points than the Flyers. The Devils also hold a key game in hand.
Couturier, who will center Gagne and Briere, has skated with 12 different line combinations so far this season. It’s hard to blame the second-year player for his lack of offense, although he is used more in a shut down role anyway, as it is difficult to find chemistry when playing on a different line almost every other night.
The Flyers have been shorthanded 108 times this season, which ranks second-worst in the NHL behind only the Sabres. However, they rank 10th in the league in penalty kill percentage at 83.3 percent. The Devils are just 18th in power-play effectiveness (16.5 percent), but the Flyers don’t want to give a sniper like Kovalchuk too many chances on the many advantage.
Did you know?
The Flyers’ 14 losses in regulation are the same amount that the Chicago Blackhawks (two), Anaheim Ducks (three), Boston Bruins (four) and Montreal Canadiens (five) have combined.
Flyers: Jody Shelley (left hip surgery) remains sidelined.
Devils: Brodeur (back), Dainius Zubrus (left wrist surgery) and Henrik Tallinder (lower-body) are all on injured reserve and are out for New Jersey.
How concerned are you by the Flyers’ 3-6 record against Atlantic Division foes so far this season?
Flyers at Devils – 7:30 p.m., NBCSN