In the first four games of the season series, the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers couldn't find a way to win on home ice.
Leave it to New Jersey to buck the trend.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal and added two assists as the Devils defeated the Flyers, 4-1, tonight at the Prudential Center. It was New Jersey's fourth straight win, all over Atlantic Division teams.
Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky recorded two assists, his second multi-point game in his last three contests. Patrik Elias finished with a goal and assist.
The Devils and Flyers are now tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
New Jersey jumped out to a 1-0 lead with 25 seconds left in the first period. With Braydon Coburn in the box for slashing, Kovalchuk held the puck behind his own net. He sent it up the ice for David Clarkson, who moved in on a 2-on-1 with Elias. The right winger floated a pass to Elias, who tipped it past the glove of Sergei Bobrovsky for his 24th goal of the season.
Claude Giroux tied the game, 1-1, just 16 seconds into the third period. Jaromir Jagr carried the puck along the end boards, leaving the puck near the net. Giroux flipped the puck over the shoulder of Martin Brodeur for his 25th goal of the season.
Like their prior three wins, the Devils took control in the third period. Anton Volchenkov broke the tie, scoring the eventual game-winning goal at the 2:45 mark of the final frame. Kovalchuk and Volchenkov moved into the Flyers zone on a 2-on-1. Kovalchuk sent a pass cross ice to a wide open Volchenkov, who buried the puck in an open net for his second goal this season.
Kovalchuk stretched the lead to 3-1 at 8:08 of the third period, becoming the first Devils skater to hit the 30 goal plateau. Adam Henrique collected a loose puck behind Bobrovsky, working it up the boards to Zidlicky. The defenseman found Kovalchuk with a pass in the slot, and the left wing fired a wrist shot past the glove of Bobrovsky.
It's the ninth straight season that Kovalchuk hit the 30 goal mark.
Zach Parise added to the lead, giving New Jersey a 4-1 advantage at the 14:19 mark. With Zac Rinaldo in the box serving a double minor for high sticking, Parise stood in front of the net, tipping an Elias shot on Bobrovsky. The Flyers goalie made the initial save, but Parise collected the rebound and backhanded a shot off the blade of the Flyers goalie for his 28th goal of the season.
Brodeur stopped 18 shots for the win. He made several big stops, including robbing Sean Courturier with a glove save at the 10:05 mark of the first period. Courtier found a loose puck in the left circle and fired a shot on net. Brodeur stuck out his glove and snared the shot.
It was another milestone night for Brodeur, as he recorded his 650th career win.
The two teams will finish the home-and-home series Tuesday night in Philadelphia. New Jersey has won three of the five meetings, including the last two contests.
Henrique recorded his 31st assist tonight, and holds a three point lead over Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog for the points lead among rookies...Clarkson has points in four straight games...The Devils have played five of six straight games against division opponents. They're 4-2-0 against the Flyers, New York Rangers and New York Islanders.
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