Their Atlantic Division lead down to two points, the New Jersey Devils need to keep attacking the net. Keeping the lead when they finally do score would also help.
The Devils look to avoid losing the season series to the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time since 2003-04 on Wednesday night when the teams finish a home-and-home set at the Prudential Center.
Since an 18-5-0 stretch from Nov. 25-Jan. 12, New Jersey (36-20-2) has lost 10 of 14 and leads Pittsburgh by two points in the division. The Devils held a 2-0 lead at Philadelphia on Monday with goals from Zach Parise(notes) and newly acquired defenseman Anssi Salmela(notes), but the Flyers scored three unanswered to improve to 3-1-0 against New Jersey this season.
“It’s a good team,” Devils coach Jacques Lemaire told the team’s official Web site. “They played a good game. They were on the puck, they made good plays. … I felt that, on our part, we didn’t finish.”
It was the first time since a 5-2 loss on Oct. 7, 2005, that New Jersey lost in this matchup after leading by two goals.
A victory Wednesday would give the Flyers (29-25-3) their first season series win against New Jersey since going 3-2-0 with a tie in 2003-04. The Devils, though, have won 15 of 17 at home in this series.
New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur(notes) is 25-8-0 with three ties in his career at home against Flyers, but the four-time Vezina Trophy winner has allowed three or more goals in each of his last five starts.
Philadelphia will look to keep the pressure on Brodeur after firing 37 shots on goal in Monday’s 3-2 win. The Flyers had 72 shots in their previous two games, but scored once while dropping both contests.
“It’s not easy scoring goals,” Flyers captain Mike Richards(notes) told the team’s official Web site. “It seems like the last couple games it’s been even tougher. … You keep throwing it at the net something good is going to happen.”
Carter, who snapped a five-game goal drought Monday, said after the victory that his collision with Salmela after the New Jersey defenseman scored a short-handed goal in the second period was an accident. Salmela was taken off the ice on a stretcher after he was hit in the face by Carter’s right shoulder.
“I’m not a dirty player. I’ve never been suspended. I rarely hit,” said Carter, who leads Philadelphia with 48 points. “It’s unfortunate that he got hurt. I’m glad he’s alright.”
Salmela said he just had a headache after the hit, but he is questionable for Wednesday.
Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) is still looking for his first goal since being acquired from Atlanta on Thursday. Kovalchuk, who had 31 goals for the Thrashers, has led New Jersey with eight and nine shots, respectively, in the last two games.
“He is trying so much to score and you know he is squeezing the stick a little bit,” Lemaire said. “He is so anxious to contribute the way he can by scoring goals. But his game is fine. Just a matter of time that he is going to start feel better and get better shots.”
With Ray Emery(notes) nursing some tightness in his hip, Michael Leighton(notes) could make his fourth straight start in net for the Flyers. Leighton is 0-2-0 with a 4.06 goals-against average in two career starts in New Jersey.
The teams’ final regular-season meeting is March 28 in Philadelphia.