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Flyers Drop Matinee To Devils 3-1

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Patrik Elias scored twice and Johan Hedberg made 26 saves, helping the suddenly hot New Jersey Devils claim a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Henrik Tallinder also scored for the Devils, who have won five of their last six. They were 10-29-2 before their current run, which includes wins against some of the Eastern Conference’s top teams.

New Jersey swept a home-and-home with the Southeast Division-leading Lightning, then beat Pittsburgh on Thursday before Saturday’s victory. The Flyers have the conference’s best record and had won eight of nine.

James van Riemsdyk had the lone goal for Philadelphia, while Brian Boucher stopped 19-of-21 shots.

New Jersey grabbed control by scoring twice in the first period.

The first was the result of a counter-rush, which Jason Arnott led with Ilya Kovalchuk and Tallinder. Just as they crossed center ice, Arnott passed to Kovalchuk on the left side, and Kovalchuk waited a few moments before feeding Adam Mair.

Boucher stopped Mair’s shot and Mike Richards tried to clear the rebound, but the puck went directly to Tallinder, who blasted a point shot by Boucher at 5:25.

Nearly seven minutes later, Elias got the puck in the right corner, walked toward the goal and shoved a point-blank shot past Boucher.

The Flyers got on the board in the final minute of the second period. With the puck near his own blue line, Richards sent a backhand, cross-ice pass to Claude Giroux above the left circle in the Devils’ zone. Giroux waited before centering for van Riemsdyk, who tipped the puck between Hedberg’s stick and the left post.

Philadelphia continued to pressure in the third period and had several good scoring chances, but wasn’t able to get the equalizer. Giroux’s cross-checking penalty with 2:14 to play gave the Devils an advantage, and Elias recorded an empty-netter with 42 seconds remaining.

The Flyers were going for the 1,000th home win in franchise history, a mark they can reach on Tuesday against Montreal…Philadelphia had won three of the first four meetings between the teams this season…Brian Rolston had two assists for New Jersey.