Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Brian Boucher stopped 34-of-35 shots and Danny Briere netted the game-winner in the first period as Philadelphia edged New Jersey, 2-1, in the back end of a home-and-home set between these clubs.
James van Riemsdyk also tallied for the Flyers, who won in Newark on Thursday and have taken four of their last five overall.
Philadelphia hit the midway point of its season at 26-10-5 for 57 points.
“I think the first period was probably our best period of the three,” Briere said. “These afternoon games are always a little tougher to get into it seems. The most important part is that we found a way to win especially winning back to back against the Devils.”
Andy Greene posted the lone offense for the Devils, who have lost four in a row and 15 of their last 17 since the start of December.
Johan Hedberg started and suffered the loss, pulled after giving up two goals on 10 shots in almost 15 minutes. Martin Brodeur finished the contest by failing to allow a score on 19 shots.
New Jersey fell to 10-29-2 at its own midway point, worst since going 8-30-2 in 1983-84 during an 80-game schedule.
“You know, they really tried to get back and tie it at the end,” said Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire, whose club fell to 1-7 under his watch. “We did a lot of good things. The guys never stopped. This is what we’re working on. It would be nice to get a point just to feel good about our work but it didn’t happen.”
Briere put the home team up 2-0 on a power play at 14:41 of the first period, gathering in a Claude Giroux pass and banking a shot from along the goal line off Hedberg’s shoulder. Brodeur was summoned from the bench, but the payoff didn’t come until the next period.
New Jersey got on the board at 8:07 of the second, when Greene’s harmless shot from the left point deflected off Ville Leino’s skate, bounced in the air and landed in the net behind Boucher.
Boucher kept on an even keel, stopping the other 11 Devils chances in the second. He then made two improbable stops with 4:13 to play, as Vladimir Zharkov had two open chances from the top of the crease on an open net, but failed to lift the puck above the Flyer netminder’s outstretched right pad.
The Devils skated 6-on-5 for the final 1:19 of regulation, and Boucher had to fend off a goalmouth scramble on a partial breakaway from Dainius Zubrus with 15 seconds remaining to preserve the win.
In a 4-on-4 situation, the Flyers jumped on the board as van Riemsdyk curled away from Devils defenseman Colin White on the left wing and slid a shot between Hedberg’s pads at 8:13 of the opening period.
“Yeah, it’s always fun to play these guys,” said van Riemsdyk, a New Jersey native. “I grew up watching them a lot, they’re a tough team to beat, and they’ve been consistently good over the past 10-15 years so I guess our win is pretty big.”
The Flyers have won three of four over the Devils this season and have taken eight of 10 since the start of last year…It is the club’s best mid-point record since going 27-8-6 in 2005-06…Prior to the game, the Flyers assigned defenseman Danny Syvret to Adirondack of the AHL…Vice President Joe Biden and his wife were in attendance…New Jersey has lost 11 straight on the road since November 3 at Chicago…Philadelphia begins a four-game road trip at Buffalo on Tuesday.