WTF! Devils Score 4 Goals in the 3rd Period
- Updated: May 2, 2012
That’s all the New Jersey Devils needed Tuesday night, as they scored four third-period goals to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 and even the Eastern Conference semifinals at 1-1.
The Devils did it without the services of leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk, who did not even travel to Philadelphia for Game 2 because of a lower-body injury, according to Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello.
Lamoriello said at the team’s morning skate that Kovalchuk would be day-to-day and that the injury was sustained in the middle of the Devils’ first-round series.
At first, it looked like the Devils might really miss Kovalchuk. The Flyers scored less than three minutes into the game to grab the early lead and for the first part of the opening period, the Flyers were outhustling, outskating and outshooting the Devils.
Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was spectacular in net for Philadelphia to keep the 1-0 lead, stopping all of New Jersey’s 13 shots — many of team good scoring chances. Quickly, though, the momentum swung to the Devils. New Jersey maintained pressure on Bryzgalov into the second period, where the Devils outshot the Flyers 12-2.
Time after time — including a two-minute stretch in the middle of the second period during which he saved six shots — Bryzgalov came up with the big stop when Philadelphia needed it.
That is, until the final period. It turns out the Devils, who had 25 shots on goal in the first two periods, hadn’t even really gotten started yet.
Rookie defenseman Adam Larsson, making his NHL playoff debut, cracked Bryzgalov first, scoring a goal 3:08 into the third. Winger David Clarkson, moved to Zach Parise’s line in Kovalchuk’s absence, scored next on a Parise rebound with less than nine minutes left in the game. It was Clarkson’s first goal of the postseason after he scored a career-best 30 goals during the regular season.
Travis Zajac gave the Devils a two-goal cushion with a tally with six minutes left in the game. That seemed to deflate the Wells Fargo Center crowd, as fans started heading for the exits shortly afterward. Bryce Salvador tacked on a short-handed goal into the empty net for the Devils’ fourth goal. New Jersey outshot Philadelphia 35-20 for the game. Those first 25 shots were for practice; four of the final 10 shots found the back of the net.
The series resumes Thursday night in New Jersey.