Philadelphia is 4-6-1 in its last 11 games following a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday. The victory was just the second non-shootout win in the last 11 contests for the Flyers, who won without star center Peter Forsberg.
Forsberg missed the game due to a sprained right knee ligament suffered in the third period of Friday’s loss to Tampa Bay. He is expected to return to face New Jersey.
“For any other team to lose their best player in pregame warmup, that’s emotionally draining and these guys really responded,” Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said.
Even before his injury, the 2003 NHL MVP had been struggling, scoring just two goals with five assists in his last 12 games. Forsberg also has not historically fared well against the Devils, with three goals in 17 career games against them.
The Flyers have won four games in a row against the Devils at the Wachovia Center, outscoring them 13-5. Philadelphia has not lost to New Jersey at home since a 2-0 defeat on Dec. 13, 2003.
Despite their recent woes, the Flyers are in comfortable position to make the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season. Philadelphia is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, 12 points ahead of the ninth-place Thrashers.
The Devils’ playoff pursuit is not as secure. New Jersey is just four points in front of the Thrashers after three losses in its last four games.
Goaltender Martin Brodeur has struggled during those four games with a 1-3 record, 5.36 goals-against average and .800 save percentage. He allowed three third-period goals on Sunday, as the Devils lost 4-0 to the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators.
The two-time Vezina Trophy winner has posted a 2.61 GAA this season, his highest since he earned a 3.35 GAA in just four appearances in his 1991-92 debut season.
Brodeur and the Devils have won the last two meetings with the Flyers this season, both games played at New Jersey.