Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Special to the Phanatic
Newark, NJ -- Martin Brodeur stopped 24 shots to earn his 120th career shutout, as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-0, in their home opener on Tuesday at Prudential Center.
Brodeur posted the 10th career whitewash against his long-time rivals, and it was his first since Mar. 1, 2009, also a 3-0 home triumph.
"I've worked really hard to get to where I am," Brodeur said. "The team's playing well and I'm just trying to play hockey. I'm happy to be back."
Ilya Kovalchuk tallied a goal and an assist, while Travis Zajac and David Clarkson also lit the lamp for the Devils, who opened their season with a 2-1 road win over the New York Islanders.
Ilya Bryzgalov allowed all three goals on 26 shots for the Flyers, who have dropped their first three games in regulation for the first time since the lockout-shortened 1995 season.
"I think we came out with the right attitude tonight just not the right result," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think there's a lot of little things (we can do) and we'll continue to look at it and work at it."
The Devils, who beat the Flyers in five games during the second round of the playoffs during their thrilling run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, raised their Eastern Conference championship banner to the rafters in a pregame ceremony.
New Jersey seemed to carry that momentum into the game, as Zajac got the Devils on the board just 67 seconds in.
Dainius Zubrus wheeled around the net before feeding it to Bryce Salvador at the left point. Bryzgalov sprawled out to save Salvador's point blast, but couldn't control the rebound, and Zajac jammed it home for a 1-0 lead.
Philadelphia controlled the play for much of the period, but an interference penalty against the Flyers in the final minute set up the Devils' next score.
Following a scrum behind the Philadelphia net, Clarkson came out with the puck and tried a quick wrap around attempt that deflected off the skate of Philadelphia's Ruslan Fedotenko and into the back of the net to double New Jersey's advantage with just 25 seconds left in the period.
Philadelphia picked up its third power play of the game early in the second, but it was New Jersey who took advantage, as a long pass from a defenseman sprung Kovalchuk on a breakaway.
Kimmo Timonen hooked Kovalchuk on the breakaway attempt, setting up a penalty shot, which Kovalchuk converted with a backhand that he lifted high over a sprawling Bryzgalov to make it 3-0 at the 2:44 mark.
The Flyers failed to pull any closer in the final frame, as Brodeur turned away all seven shots he faced in the period to send the Devils to victory.
Notes: Kovalchuk's successful penalty shot was the first for the Devils against Philadelphia since Doug Brown did so on Nov. 23, 1991 ... The Flyers finished 0-for-7 on the power-play and are now 1-for-16 on the season with the man advantage ... Tye McGinn was recalled from the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms and made his NHL debut for the Flyers ... New Jersey went 1-for-7 on the power play ... Philadelphia forward Danny Briere missed his third straight game with a wrist injury suffered while playing in Germany during the lockout.