(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will aim to keep a rival Atlantic
Division club winless on the young season when they host Philadelphia Flyers
in a playoff rematch at the Prudential Center.
The defending Eastern Conference champion Devils eliminated Philadelphia from
the postseason last spring, ousting the Flyers in five games during the second
Philadelphia has yet to earn a point this season, going 0-2-0 during the first
weekend of this lockout-shortened season. The Flyers were dealt a 3-1 home
setback by Pittsburgh on Saturday and then dropped a 5-2 decision the
following day in Buffalo.
This marks the first time Philadelphia has lost two straight to begin a season
since it went 0-3-3 at the start of the 2008-09 campaign.
The Flyers were victimized by Thomas Vanek's five-point performance on Sunday,
as the Sabres forward tallied two goals and three assists to help Buffalo earn
Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each lit the lamp for Philadelphia, while
Ilya Bryzgalov gave up four goals on 40 shots in the loss.
"It's frustrating and not where we want to be right now," said Giroux. "We
just have to be patient and stay focused. We'll get things together here soon
Special teams have been an issue for Philadelphia in the early going as Peter
Laviolette's club is 1-for-9 on the power play while surrendering five scores
on nine shorthanded situations.
The Flyers will be without forward Zac Rinaldo for at least a week after he
suffered a lacerated right thigh in Sunday's contest. Philadelphia recalled
Tye McGinn from the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms and he could make his NHL debut
Philly is also awaiting the return of forward Danny Briere, who has missed
both games this season with a wrist injury. Briere is expected to sit out
Tuesday's tilt, but could be ready to play by the end of the week.
After completing a two-game swing in New Jersey, the Flyers will host the New
York Rangers on Thursday before heading back out on a four-game trek.
The Devils have had two days off since beginning the season with a 2-1 road
win over the New York Islanders. David Clarkson scored the go-ahead goal
midway through the third period, lifting Jersey to the win at Nassau Coliseum.
Travis Zajac also tallied a goal, while Martin Brodeur turned away 18 shots
for the Devils, who made a thrilling run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season
before losing to the Los Angeles Kings in six games.
"We played well," Brodeur remarked. "We blocked a lot of shots. We kept them
pretty much to the outside. For a first game it was definitely nice."
After Tuesday's game versus the Flyers, the Devils won't play again until
hosting the Washington Capitals on Friday.
Before meeting in the postseason last year, the Flyers and Devils split six
regular-season meetings. Philadelphia has taken 12 of the last 19 in-season
encounters in this series.
The Sports Network