New Jersey Devils Look to Sweep Philadelphia Flyers at Home
Photo courtesy of USA Today Images
By Kristin Tullo (@K_Tullo)
Four points ahead of the 11th place Philadelphia Flyers, the New Jersey Devils will look to gain more ground on their Atlantic Division rival when they host the Flyers for the third and final time this year and begin their fourth home-and-home series of the season.
Winning two out of their last three games, the Devils will look for their first back-to-back wins since a five-game win streak in early February against a Flyers team that is also looking for consecutive wins after defeating Buffalo to end a three-game losing skid. Dropping only two games in regulation so far within the Atlantic Division (7-2-1), the Devils are looking to find consistency following a losing streak that stretched from February 23- March 5th. Johan Hedberg (4-7-2) will make his 10th consecutive start for the Devils and has yet to post back-to-back wins in his time as the starting goalie while Martin Brodeur remains on the IR.
Leading the Devils in their head-to-head series with the Flyers is Ilya Kovalchuk who has one goal and four assists in their first two meetings. Tied with David Clarkson for a team-high six-game point streak, a point tonight for the Russian winger would extend his current four-game streak in which he has two goals and three assists.
Also hot for the Devils has been Ryan Carter who has five points in his last six since returning to the lineup following a concussion. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov has two assists in as many games and is two away from 100 in his NHL career.
The Flyers are currently three points behind the New York Rangers who hold onto the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With eight points at stake in the next two games for these teams, David Strehle of The Fourth Period reported earlier this week that Flyers’ left wing,Simon Gagne, called these games “maybe the biggest games of the season.” Gagne, who was re-acquired by the Flyers on February 26th, will face the Devils for the first time since Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals when he was a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
The stage is set for 7:30pm on NBC Sports Network. You can also listen to it on Sports Radio 660 WFAN & FM 101.9. Limited amount of tickets still available.
- Harri Pesonen was recalled from the Albany Devils (AHL) on March 12th and is looking to make his NHL debut tonight. If Pesonen plays, he will be the third Devils’ player to play his first NHL game in their last four games (Keith Kinkaid vs Tampa Bay, Jeff Frazee vs Carolina Hurricanes)
- Claude Girouxd has 21-points (6-15-21) in 21 career games against New Jersey.
- The game tonight will be the first of three division games in the next four games for New Jersey. They are 7-1-2 when playing within the Atlantic Division.