The Philadelphia Flyers are the NHL’s lone winless team, and their goalies can take much of the blame. The New Jersey Devils, meanwhile, haven’t had a problem with their goaltender for the past 15 seasons.
The Flyers try to register their first victory of the season on Friday night against a Devils team they haven’t beaten on the road since 2004.
Brodeur earned his 98th career shutout in Wednesday’s 5-0 victory over the Dallas Stars, leaving him six shy of breaking Terry Sawchuk’s NHL record. The future Hall of Famer also needs nine more victories to top Patrick Roy’s 551 on the career list.
“We made the most of our scoring opportunities. Marty made a couple of big saves at key times,” New Jersey coach Brent Sutter said. “It was a real solid win here tonight.”
It was Brodeur’s second shutout in the past three games, and he has allowed eight goals in six starts. That puts his goals-against average at 1.30, nearly a goal less than his career mark of 2.20.
Brodeur’s play is a major reason why the Devils are off to a 5-1-0 start and have won three straight. Even with a five-goal performance Wednesday, New Jersey has scored 14 times in those six games.
Philadelphia has scored 20 goals to rank among the top 10 teams in the league, but has surrendered 28. Biron has a 5.00 GAA, allowing 15 goals in his four games, while Niittymaki’s GAA is at 3.81. The two have combined for an .857 save percentage.
Last season, Biron and Niittymaki combined for a 2.73 GAA and a .913 save percentage, helping Philadelphia reach the Eastern Conference finals.
In a 7-6 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, Philadelphia tied the game four times, including a rally from a 6-4 deficit in the third period. However, Biron gave up goals to both shooters in the shootout after entering the game in the second in place of Niittymaki, who surrendered four goals on just 15 shots.
“You score six goals. It should be enough to win,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “You look at the game we played, there are a lot of games we have scored enough to win. I thought tonight we created a lot of opportunities offensively, but it’s no secret. You get your goals against down, you win hockey games.”
The Flyers have lost all three games that have gone past regulation this season, also falling twice in overtime. The Flyers went 3-6 in shootouts and dropped five of eight overtime contests in 2007-08.
New Jersey has won 12 straight home meetings with Philadelphia since a 3-1 loss on March 9, 2004. The Devils went 6-2-0 against the Flyers last season, improving to 18-5-1 versus their Atlantic Division rivals since the start of the 2005-06 season.
Brodeur is 42-21-1 with six ties, eight shutouts and a 2.41 GAA against Philadelphia. The 42 wins are his most against any opponent.