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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Flyers prepare for critical game vs Devils

Mar 13, 2013, 8:02 AM EDT

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 15: Luke Schenn #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Adam Henrique #14 of the New Jersey Devils battle for a loose puck during the game at the Prudential Center on February 15, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Philadelphia Flyers will head to the Prudential Center for a match against the New Jersey Devils at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Just how big is this game for Philadelphia? Flyers starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov thinks their season is as good as over if they lose both games of their home-and-home series against the Devils tonight and Friday.

“Maybe the two biggest games of the season for us,” 33-year-old forward Simon Gagne said. “After that it could be a big difference where we want to be in the standings.”

That’s certainly true, and it’s for the same reason that the New Jersey Devils can’t afford to lose this these contests either. Only four points separate these two squads and while New Jersey has the superior record, they have only the slimmest of leads in the Eastern Conference standings.

“Obviously Philly is playing for their life here and we should have the same mindset,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said in a Star-Ledger report.

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Since Martin Brodeur’s last game, the Devils are an ugly 2-6-1, although they have recently eked out shootout wins against the Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets in between a blowout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Brodeur (back) is making progress, however slowly, but in the meantime they need to win some big games like this one without him.

Otherwise teams on the outside looking in like the Flyers will catch up with them before Brodeur has a chance to block another shot.

Probable goaltenders: PHI – Bryzgalov (12-11-1, 2.77 GAA, .899 SV%) | NJD – Johan Hedberg (4-7-2, 2.97 GAA, .879 SV%)

Top scorers: PHI – Jakub Voracek (12-17-29, 27 GP) | NJD – Patrik Elias (8-17-25, 26 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Philadelphia – Forwards: Tye McGinn (eye), Jody Shelley (hip) Defensemen: Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion), Chris Pronger (concussion)
New Jersey – Forwards: Dainius Zubrus (wrist) Defensemen: Henrik Tallinder (lower body) Goaltenders: Brodeur (back)

  1. thecheeman - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Clarkson hasn’t been a factor this entire bad streak. Devils will need him greatly tonight to overcome the energy Philly is going to bring, but I think the Devils will be psyched to play an in-division opponent again. They haven’t played the Flyers, Penguins or Rangers in a very long time.

  2. philly4lyfe - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    hedberg always seems to play really good against us

    • ml3939 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      Career .898 save percentage and 3.07 GAA against the Flyers. Not sure if that is what I am calling really good in today’s game.

  3. 950003cups - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    I’m expecting another sellout crowd tonight!

  4. mclovinhockey - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    A sell out crowd in jersey? Oh that’s right, flyers fans do travel there a lot.

    • jcd1795 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      Actually, the Devils sell out quite a bit of games at the Prudential Center. Especially in the shortened season.

      • huhsj - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        Sold out every game so far except the 2 against the Lightning

      • 950003cups - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        It was one game they didn’t sell out. Yes it was Tampa. Which had just under 15K

  5. nflfan4now - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Did the league suspend Simmons or Schenn yet for their cheap shots against the Sabres?

  6. nflfan4now - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Did the league suspend Simmons or Shenn yet for their cheap shots against the Sabres?

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      Luke Schenn’s may have been dirty, Simmonds hit was not. It was atleast partially Ennis’ fault, as he turned at the exact wrong second.

  7. wingsandthings19 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    If the Flyers blow this one who steps up after the game to say “we let 2 points slip away”.

  8. broadstbully33 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    If both sabres players hadn’t turned away from both hits putting themselves in danger of injury they would have been perfect hits. Both players turn away and face boards when they see the hit already in motion. Players need to protect themselves at some point and stop looking for boarding calls by turning away at last second.

  9. mclovinhockey - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    @nfl fan
    I don’t recall any suspension worthy hits from that game. I saw Ennis get rocked by simmonds cause simmonds was about to hit Ennis then Ennis turned for some reason.

    I also recall Luke schenn getting hit very late by folingo…. Not sure if that’s what you meant but it was not suspension worthy.
    Overall besides the sabres penalty spree at the end of the first the game was clean…
    Oh wait there was a charge by Rinaldo, although the only thing he hit was a stick… Somehow got 4 minutes for checking a stick, thought that was funny.

    @jcd all teams are selling out right now due to the shortened season : ) usually though the only games the devils sell out are when the visiting fans full the arena.

  10. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Absolutely crucial points for both teams. A sweep for either team could go a long way towards claiming a playoff spot. A split isn’t good enough for the Flyers, and it doesn’t help the Devils all that much either as splitting the points would leave them in the same spot as they entered the two games. Gotta get two REGULATION wins to keep the season alive.

    • xflyersx - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Won’t happen. The 2012 Flyers could, but not this years team.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Not saying it will, it’s just what’s necessary for the Flyers to turn the season around. But I’ve been saying all season that they’d turn it around, at this point I’ve lost all confidence in the team the perform under pressure. Even with the Devils struggling mightily I don’t expect the Flyers to win either game.

  11. philly4lyfe - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    I might have been thinking of someone else.

  12. 5hole26 - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    must suck that this game might wrap up your season. lol poor flyers

    • ml3939 - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      When your mom set up your account, how did she mix up the “5” and the “a” on the keyboard?

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      must be a sad existence when your life and happiness depends upon the failings of others. bad karma, troll.

  13. jb8383 - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Big game tonight for both teams. Would be awesome if Doc called it.

  14. spavs412 - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    I hope NJ can put a knife in the flyers now! They could get hot but put them away now!!

  15. pwilson264 - Mar 13, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    should be a good game tonight, come on flyers show the devils some of your brotherly love. smash them.

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