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Devils blank Flyers, keep faint playoff hopes alive

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Looking for their first win in nearly four weeks, the New Jersey Devils kept their faint playoff hopes alive and put the Flyers on the verge of elimination.

Ryan Carter, Matt D'Agostini and Adam Henrique scored goals, Martin Brodeur stopped 23 shots and the Devils snapped a 10-game winless skid by defeating Philadelphia 3-0 Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center.

"We still have a pulse and we're still alive," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We have the Rangers head-to-head next week. It's a climb, but we at least took a step in the right direction tonight."

New Jersey (16-17-10) remains six points behind the New York Rangers for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference, with five games left.

The Flyers (19-22-3) are seven points behind the Rangers and have only four games remaining.

"It's a disappointing season," Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux said. "Still a couple games left, but it's frustrating the way we played this game. They won more battles than us, that's the thing."

Brodeur registered his 121st career shutout and second this season. His previous shutout came in Philadelphia on Jan. 22. Brodeur won for just the third time in his last 13 starts on the Flyers' home ice.

The Devils hadn't won since beating Florida on March 23, going 0-6-4 to fall out of the playoff picture.

"I'm a statistics guy. I believe in numbers. They say there's still a chance," Carter said. "So as long as there's still a chance, I still believe. The main focus now is just one at a time. That was the mandate going into tonight. You know, one game, win it and go from here. We've got Florida on the dock next, so that's where we're at."

Brodeur preserved the 1-0 lead with a chest save on Giroux's slap shot midway through the third period.

"Marty was very good at key moments tonight for us," DeBoer said.

D'Agostini then shot one between goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's legs to give New Jersey a two-goal cushion with just over five minutes left. A frustrated Bryzgalov smashed his stick after allowing the goal.

Henrique added an empty-netter in the final 90 seconds.

After the Flyers missed out on a 3-on-1 breakaway by not even getting a shot on net, the Devils scored at the opposite end. Carter fired a slap shot from the left circle that appeared to deflect off a stick and sailed past Bryzgalov to give the Devils a 1-0 lead 5:36 into the second.

"It's been a drought, but it was good to get that," Carter said. "To get the lead and play with it is kind of like a monkey off the back. You know it has been a while but it's kind of like old times and we knew what to do when it was 1-0. Shut them down. So, Marty in net, stood tall and that's a good win for us."

Jakub Voracek kicked the puck into the net later in the second, but the goal was waived off immediately and the call was upheld by a video review.

Stephen Gionta nearly scored a shorthanded goal to put the Devils up 2-0, but his shot hit the post.

The Flyers had won two in a row but are now two Rangers points away from being eliminated from the playoffs. It'll be the first time they miss the playoffs since 2007 and second time in 18 years.

"It's never fun," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. "It's the first time in a long time for Philadelphia, for myself to be eliminated not by your own doing. It sucks."

NOTES: Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who hoped to play after skating on Tuesday, missed his 11th straight game with a right shoulder injury. ... Brodeur made his 13th straight start. ... This was the fifth and final meeting between the two teams. ... The Flyers have 46 first-period goals while the Devils have 22. ... Carter's goal snapped New Jersey's goal drought. The Devils were shut out in the previous two games. ... Flyers forward Jay Rosehill was a late scratch.
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