The voodoo that the New Jersey Devils held over the Flyers the past few seasons appears to be over.
Goaltender Ray Emery stretched his shut-out streak to 109 minutes and rookie James van Riemsdyk had another excellent game, as the Flyers defeated Atlantic Division rival Devils, 5-2 , Saturday night at the Prudential Center.
Jeff Carter gave the Flyers the all-important 1-0 lead 15-minutes into the opening stanza, when he batted a fluky bounce past Martin Brodeur. Scott Hartnell and Ryan Parent were on the assist.
“They play different with the lead rather than behind,” Emery told the media. “They pressed a bit. We kind of came through it and got some insurance goals and did a good job of keeping that lead.”
The Flyers killed two Devils’ 5-on-3 power plays and dodges a second-period barrage, before Ian Laperriere scored his first as a Flyer, 9:20 into the second. Mike Richards scored his second of the season on a wrap around six minutes later, giving the Flyers the dominant 3-0 lead.
“Our defense did a really good job of controlling the puck,” said head coach John Stevens. “They did a really good job of hanging onto the puck and having some composure with it. It just felt like this group had a lot of energy. The energy coming into the rink was very noticeable.”
The Flyers received third-period goals from Matt Carle and Darroll Powe to seal the victory and extend their record to 2-0.
James van Riemsdyk
JVR scored two assists and was a plus-3 in front of hundreds of his family and friends at the Prudential Center. The Middletown, N.J. native has three points in his first-two NHL games, which leads the Flyers. Despite taking a too many men penalty that led to the Devils’ first goal, it was a penalty of eagerness not laziness.
“This kid’s sick. You don’t go second overall in the draft for no good reason,” Ian Laperriere said of JVR. “He’s doing stuff that veterans do. He doesn’t have pressure to make the little plays. It’s fun to see a kid with that much poise.”
After winning just 29% of face offs taken in Carolina, Carter won 67% in New Jersey, going 8-4. Carter also tallied his second goal of the season.
Last year the Flyers struggled scoring even strength. But that wasn’t the case against the Devils. Philly scored all five of its goals 5-on-5.
The Flyers were on the penalty kill five times and were twice stuck on the 5-on-3. If it wasn’t for Ray Emery’s acrobatics it would have been a much different contest, especially if Jacques Lemaire got his team the lead.
Richards played an aggressive and solid game on both sides of the puck, but he continued to struggle in the face off circle. Richards won just 35% of draws taken. Not good enough for the team’s top shut-down center.
The season opener was Brodeur’s 1000th NHL game and it couldn’t have been more of a clunker. Brodeur made 22 saves on 27 shots, but gave up a few softies which caused him to receive some Bronx cheers from the home crowd.