The New Jersey Devils (14–5–0) had their nine-game winning streak on the road snapped Monday night after they fell to the Philadelphia Flyers (11–5–1) at the Wachovia Center 3–2.
With the loss, the Devils have now dropped four of their last five road games against the Flyers.
The game was a physical war between two bitter Atlantic Division rivals and both teams went hard at each other throughout the first period. However, the Flyers were throwing more hits than New Jersey, backed by their home crowd.
The Flyers aggressive play paid off at 7:11 in the period as center Darroll Powe put a quick shot past Martin Brodeur for the first goal of the game.
For the rest of the period, the Devils tried to match the Flyers intensity and did an admirable job, but unfortunately wound up giving Philly an advantage in the closing minutes of the period courtesy of a cross check by Andy Greene.
Philadelphia took advantage of the power play at 0:44 in the second period after left wing Scott Hartnell beat Brodeur in front of the net. He ricocheted a goal off of the stick of Devils defenseman Mike Mottau.
But Devils winger David Clarkson gave his team some life at 15:42 after scoring a big power play goal due to back-to-back penalties by Flyers’ centers Jeff Carter and Mike Richards that put New Jersey on a five-on-three advantage.
The Flyers increased their lead 3–1 at 10:38 in the third period after some miscommunication between Brodeur and defenseman Bryce Salvador left Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk open in front of the net for the score.
Typical of a divisional slugfest between these two teams, both were entangled in a physical battle for the remainder of the period. The Devils made it close when Jamie Langenbrunner put a shot past goalie Ray Emery in the final seconds of the period. A scrum ensued in front of Philly’s net as the game ended with the score 3–2 in favor of the Flyers.
Playing without two top defensemen Johnny Oduya and Paul Martin, New Jersey’s defense was not at its best and Brodeur had to compensate for the loose play in the defensive zone. He made 32 saves out of 35 shots on goal.
The Devils will go on the road again Thursday night and try to rebound against the Nashville Predators (9–8–1).