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Rival Flyers, Devils square off in New Jersey

Jan 6, 2011 - 4:14 PM (Sports Network) - A pair of division rivals with plenty of space between them in the standings will meet tonight in New Jersey, as the lowly Devils host the hated Philadelphia Flyers at the Prudential Center in the opener of a home- and-home series.

With 53 points on the year, Philadelphia is two points behind Pittsburgh for the both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference lead, while the Devils, who the Flyers ousted in the opening round of last year's playoffs, are last in the East with just 22 points.

Philly and Jersey have met twice this season already and the clubs have split those matchups with each team winning a home game. The Flyers notched a 5-3 win when they hosted the Devils on Dec. 4 and Philadelphia has taken seven of nine overall in the series.

However, the Devils, who are just 6-12-2 as the host this year, have taken two of three, four of six and 16 of their last 19 home games against the Flyers in the regular season.

New Jersey has lost seven of its last nine games on home ice during the current season.

The Devils were dealt a home loss in their last outing as Clayton Stoner's first career goal lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 regulation win at Prudential Center on Tuesday. Stoner's dump-in during the early stages of the third period took a directional carom off the boards and eventually slid past a diving Johan Hedberg and across the goal line for the Wild.

Hedberg allowed two goals on 18 shots in the loss. It's uncertain if Hedberg or Martin Brodeur will get the start tonight. Brodeur is 44-27-3 with six ties and a 2.51 goals-against average in 80 career games against the Flyers, but the future Hall of Famer is 0-6-0 with a 3.57 GAA in his last seven games.

Hedberg is 5-8-0 with a tie and a 3.09 GAA in 16 career games against Philly.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored the only goal on Tuesday for New Jersey, making the highly-paid winger the first Devil to reach 10 goals this season.

The Devils have lost eight of their last nine games overall and since the start of December, they have posted a dreadful 2-13-0 record. The club is also 1-5-0 since Jacques Lemaire took over head coaching duties from John MacLean.

New Jersey could be without Dainius Zubrus for the second straight game tonight as the veteran forward is questionable with an undisclosed injury.

The Flyers notched just their second win in five games on Sunday and also ended a 22-year drought in Detroit.

Brian Boucher celebrated his 34th birthday by stopping 25-of-27 shots and the Flyers defeated the Red Wings, 3-2, for their first win -- regular season or playoffs -- in the Motor City since November 4, 1988. Philadelphia had gone 0-16-2 since then, including two losses in the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals.

"It's nice, but I don't think it was on our minds to get the win for that reason," Boucher said. "We hadn't been playing very well in the last four games and we wanted a big effort and end the road trip on the right note. That was more our focus."

James van Riemsdyk, Dan Carcillo and Scott Hartnell notched second-period scores for the Flyers, who nearly wasted a three-goal lead but held on for the win.

Boucher, who is 2-3-2 with a tie and a 2.22 GAA in nine career games against the Devils, could get the start over Sergei Bobrovsky tonight. The Flyers are back to carrying just two goalies on their NHL roster after placing Michael Leighton on waivers on Monday.

Leighton, who backstopped the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, cleared waivers on Tuesday and was assigned to Philadelphia's AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms.

Tonight marks the end of a five-game road trip for Philly, which is 2-2-0 on the trip and 12-4-3 away from the City of Brotherly Love this season. However, after hosting the Devils in the finale of the home-and-home on Saturday, the Flyers will head back out on a four-game swing.

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    Flyers 4, Devils 2  FinalJan 7 12:55 PM


    Jan 6 9:30 PM

  • Philadelphia Goal - Scott Hartnell (13), at 11:34.

    Flyers 4, Devils 2  3rd - 8:26Jan 6 9:15 PM
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    Flyers 4, Devils 2  3rd - 8:26Jan 6 9:15 PM
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    Flyers 3, Devils 2  3rd - 9:47Jan 6 9:11 PM

  • Philadelphia Power-Play Goal - Danny Briere (19), from Ville Leino and Matt Carle at 2:48.

    Flyers 3, Devils 2  3rd - 17:12Jan 6 8:57 PM

    End of 2nd

    Jan 6 8:36 PM

  • Philadelphia Goal - Scott Hartnell (12), from Ville Leino at 18:54.

    Flyers 2, Devils 2  2nd - 1:06Jan 6 8:34 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - David Clarkson (5), at 17:46.

    Flyers 1, Devils 2  2nd - 2:14Jan 6 8:31 PM

  • Philadelphia Goal - Scott Hartnell (11), at 15:46.

    Flyers 1, Devils 1  2nd - 4:14Jan 6 8:26 PM

    End of 1st

    Jan 6 7:42 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - Dainius Zubrus (5), from Anton Volchenkov and Patrik Elias at 11:37.

    Flyers 0, Devils 1  1st - 8:23Jan 6 7:28 PM

    1st Period - 20:00

    Jan 6 7:07 PM
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    Flyers vs. DevilsJun 23 6:02 AM