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Hedberg Backstops Devils To 3-1 Win Over Rival Flyers

Johan Hedberg wanted redemption.

After being pulled only 14 minutes into a 2-1 loss in Philadelphia January 8, Hedberg got his chance to redeem himself today at the Wells Fargo Center.

He didn't waste the chance, making 26 saves to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1.

With the Devils clinging to a 2-1 third period lead, it was Hedberg who made save after save to keep the Flyers off the scoreboard. The first came at 4:14 of the period. Daniel Briere held the puck behind the net, and attempted a wraparound. Hedberg, who was looking the other way, stopped the puck with his pads and covered the puck.

Hedberg then shut the door on Jeff Carter, going to the splits to make a great save with 2:45 left in the third period.

Briere was turned aside again with 50 seconds remaining in the game. The Flyers' center skated to the slot and tried to beat Hedberg through the pads, but the Devils goalie made the save and held the puck.

"In the third there, he made two great saves, pucks that just laid in front of him and they got a shot on him," Jacques Lemaire said of Hedberg's performance to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "He really gave us that win."

"I don't want to let the team down," Hedberg told Gulitti. "When the team is playing better and better, I don't want to be a reason for us not winning. I want to give us just as good a chance as Marty does and be good enough to win. I felt too that the way we've been playing lately, they were probably going to need me to be solid and come up with some big saves at times when we needed it. I think we played a really good game against that team."

Patrik Elias iced the win, netting an empty-net powerplay goal at 19:18. It was his second goal of the game.

With the win, the Devils earned their first three-game win streak of the season. New Jersey is unbeaten in their last five games and earned 11 of a possible 12 points. It's the first time since an eight-game win streak in 2009 that the Devils have points in six straight games.

"I think that when we're playing the way we've been playing and we know what we're supposed to do out there, then we have a chance to succeed," Elias told Gulitti. "We battled it out. It wasn't easy. Heddy made a couple of really good saves to keep us in at the right time and we'll take it."

New Jersey jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Henrik Tallinder struck first, opening the scoring at 5:25 of the first period. Flyers' captain Mike Richards attempted to clear a puck from the front of his net, firing it toward the point. Tallinder intercepted the puck and fired a shot past Brian Boucher for his second goal of the season and first since October 9.

Elias scored the eventual game-winner at 12:12 of the opening period. The Devils' center skated out of the right corner and beat Boucher through the pads for the goal.

James van Riemsdyk put the Flyers on the board with 20 seconds left in the second period. Claude Giroux floated a pass to the slot that van Riemsdyk re-directed past Hedberg for his 12th goal of the season.

The win was Hedberg's first since December 31 and continued the Devils' recent strong play.

"Every game we play now, we're taking steps in the right direction," Hedberg said to Gulitti. "Our record shows it too. We've won five out of the last six or so. We'll just keep plugging away."

Game Notes:

Elias' two points extend his team lead to 35. He's second on the team in goals with 12...The Devils have won four straight road games, their longest road win streak of the season...The Devils went 1-for-4 on the powerplay tonight...Today's win was the first for the Devils since a 3-2 overtime win in 2008. Elias scored the game-winning goal...The loss snapped the Flyers four-game win streak.