It’s been over three years since New Jersey has lost to the Philadelphia Flyers at Continental Airlines Arena. This would be a bad time for the Devils’ run to end.
The Devils look to move back into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division and extend a seven-game home winning streak against the Flyers when the teams continue their season series Friday night.
New Jersey (45-24-8) fell two points behind Pittsburgh in the division race following the Penguins’ 4-2 win over Boston on Thursday night. The Penguins are idle Friday.
The Devils have five games left - two against NHL-worst Philadelphia (21-44-11) - while the Penguins have four remaining. Pittsburgh is on a roll, going 11-2-1 since March 4, while New Jersey is slumping, having lost five of its past eight.
“They’re not losing any games. They’re just getting points left and right,” Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said of the Penguins. “So that’s what we’re aiming, to win every game and get on a roll before the playoffs start.”
New Jersey is coming off a 2-3-0 road trip, which ended with a 4-3 loss to Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo on Wednesday night that may have ended any chance the Devils had of capturing the conference lead. New Jersey trails the Sabres by seven points.
The Devils have a good opportunity to bounce back when they face the Flyers, who haven’t won in New Jersey since a 3-1 victory on March 9, 2004. Three of New Jersey’s wins during its run at home against Philadelphia have come this season, and it leads the series 5-0-1 overall.
The Devils, though, have lost a season-high five straight games at home since a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers on Feb. 20.
Gomez has four goals and 15 points in his last nine games against the Flyers.
Philadelphia ended a four-game losing streak and stymied defending champion Carolina’s playoff push with a 5-1 win Wednesday night.
Martin Biron proved why the Flyers awarded him a $7 million, two-year contract a day earlier that firmly established him as their No. 1 goalie. He made 24 saves and stopped a penalty shot in the second period to improve to 5-5-1 since being acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline.
“I’m not known to be a great penalty shot or shootout guy, but you get lucky once in a while,” Biron said.
Biron has struggled in recent years against the Devils, going 2-3-0 with a 3.97 goals-against average in his last six games against them.
The NHL-worst Flyers were all but eliminated due to a terrible start to the season, but sturdy goaltending from Biron, two goals from Jeff Carter, and one each from Derian Hatcher, Mike Knuble and Braydon Coburn were enough Wednesday.
Knuble has five goals and seven points in five games against the Devils this season. He’s second on the team with 46 points (23 goals, 23 assists).
Philadelphia forward Scottie Upshall sat out with a shoulder injury Wednesday, and is listed as day-to-day.