seven Eastern Conference Final series against the FLYERS with a 5-2 road win
Monday night. For the second time in the playoffs the Devils have won the first
two games on the road, and the FLYERS now must find a way to break through the
Neutral Zone Trap in the Meadowlands Wednesday night.
Petr Svoboda out, day to day with a strained shoulder.
The FLYERS responded to their 4-1 drubbing on Saturday by coming out of the
locker room firing on all cylinders. Nine*** minutes into the game FLYERS fans
started to believe that their team had found an answer to the famous trap. But
as they do so often, the Devils weathered the storm, took advantage of the
chances that they got, gave themselves a lead, and then made their opponents
look like a minor league hockey team.
Early on Ron Hextall almost gave up one of those bad goals that he allows from
time to time when he got caught out of the net and gave away the puck. After a
brief scramble the puck ended up going through his legs and through the crease
from side to side missing the net.
Andy Van Hellemond called the games first penalties early on when he sent Craig
MacTavish and Bill Guerin to the penalty box for roughing at 1:55. The FLYERS
are not usually a good team 4 on 4, but this time they looked ***. They
did everything right but score, if nothing else they set a good tone and gave
the fans good reason to get into the game. The FLYERS must have enjoyed it,
soon after it was over Kevin Dineen got into it with Shawn Chambers and got
coincidental roughing minors at 4:54. Right after the faceoff Eric Lindros
delivered a gloved punch in the face of Tommy Albelin behind the play and got
away with it.
The FLYERS continued to put pressure on Martin Brodeur, and lot's of it. After
a clear to the FLYERS zone, Kevin Haller recovered the puck, turned, and fired
it to Eric Desjardins along the right boards. Desjardins deflected it ahead for
Kevin Dineen, who skated down the right boards 3 on 2. From above the right
corner he centered to Lindros crashing in the slot. The pass was in Eric's feet
but he managed to kick it to his stick and wrist it top shelf short side at
Just after the ensuing faceoff, Mike Peluso took down Patrik Juhlin away from
the play and was boxed for interference at 7:24. But all the momentum that may
have been gained by the early FLYERS goal was wiped out when first the FLYERS
continued to be inept on the power play, then just after it was over MacTavish
speared Bobby Holik at 9:33 and was nailed for a double minor.
The FLYERS started out solid, in fact it took about 1:30 for the Devils just to
set up in the FLYERS zone. Once they did Hextall made a marvelous save on
Stephane Richer when Richer had the puck off a rebound and had the whole net
to shoot at, but didn't lift the puck and Hextall made the save with the shaft
of his stick as he dove across the crease. Just when you started to think that
the FLYERS were going to kill off the whole 4 minutes, Richer passed to Neil
Broten while entering the FLYERS zone on the left, took a return pass, skated
to the outside hash marks of the left circle and sent a perfect pass across to
Randy McKay who was crashing through the slot and redirected past Hextall at
12:32 to tie the game at 1-1.
But the FLYERS went right back to work at even strength, and Ken Daneyko took
a high sticking minor at 13:48 to put the FLYERS on the advantage. On the
ensuing left circle faceoff, Desjardins kicked the puck back to Lindros' stick
for a quick shot. The rebound bounced around in front, may have hit the skate
of John LeClair, somehow got to Mikael Renberg's stick and he flipped it
through the 5 hole at 13:54. LeClair got an assist, I'm not sure if he actually
The FLYERS got yet another power play when Holik cross checked Dineen at the
side of the Devils net at 15:00. But the FLYERS do nothing with this chance to
extend their lead. Then Juhlin took a bad slashing minor at 17:56 to give the
Devils a chance to even up the score. Lindros had a chance to get the puck out
of the zone, but took a risk to get a break going and ended up creating a 4 on
1 in his own end. The Devils blew it, but quickly set up as the FLYERS were
scrambling back into the zone. After a Kevin Stevens wrister missed wide left,
Claude Lemieux picked up the loose puck at the goal line, circled into the left
corner, up the left boards, across the high slot, faked a backhand pass, then
skated down to the top of the right circle where he fired a wrister that may
have deflected off Kevin Haller's stick, but I'm sure didn't go off MacLean who
got credit for it.
So the FLYERS mostly outplay the Devils and get good penalty killing, but only
have a 2-2 tie to show for it. Shots in the first were 9-8 FLYERS
You would think that the FLYERS would come out of the locker room with some
fire after blowing two leads, but instead they came out a little flat and Petr
Svoboda ended up taking a high-sticking minor at 2:53. Lindros stripped the
puck from Chambers in the neutral zone to create a shorthanded 2 on 1 with Rod
Brind'Amour. Bur Bruce Driver deflected the pass back up the boards where
Chambers circled and picked it up as the FLYERS changed defen***. Chambers
handed off to Neil Broten at the FLYERS blue line, got a return pass through
the left circle, then showed shot and sent a nice centering pass to Broten in
the slot for a chip into the open net as Hextall played Chambers all the way.
Fault Yushkevich for not picking up Broten, though the play actually turned
into a 3 on 1 as Haller couldn't keep up and Dimitri had to possible passes to
worry about. 3-2 Devils at 3:51
The Devils kept the pressure on. McKay picked up a loose puck in neutral on the
right, skated down the boards, around the corner and centered from behind the
net on the left. Peluso got to the puck first and chipped it at Hextall, Broten
got the rebound, skated away from the net to give himself some room, shot off
a diving FLYER, puck back on his stick and he lifted it over the FLYER and over
Hextall, just under the crossbar for a 4-2 Devils lead at 4:59.
The Lindros line was the next shift, and they showed that they weren't going to
go down without a fight, but the Devils held them off. They settled the game
down, went into the trap, and gradually wore at the FLYERS patience.
At that point, the game was effectively over. The FLYERS became increasingly
frustrated and made more and more bad passes and bad decisions. The Devils
later added an insurance goal. Stevens a made a good keep on the left side and
sent the puck down left boards to Richer. He skated back up boards, out towards
the high slot and handed off to Daneyko heading the other way. When he got to
the top of the left circle he sent a wrister that beat Hextall 5-hole. It was
a bad goal, but by this time it didn't matter. Time was 17:02.
That was all for Ron Hextall, Dominic Roussel was sent in for his first career
action in the playoffs, and his first action of any kind since May 2nd.
The mounting frustration resulted in an elbowing minor to Dimitri Yushkevich at
18:13. Shots in the second were 9-6 Devils.
The third period was textbook Devils hockey. After getting an earful from
Stevens, Van Hellemond called Eric for an elbowing minor at 5:10. Eric had done
a lot worse in the game that had gone uncalled. The FLYERS never seriously
challenged Brodeur in the period, and the Devils were perfectly happy to play
defense, although Roussel had to make a couple of good saves on the penalty
kill. Shots in the third were 7-5 Devils.
There was one more piece of action to mention. As time ran off the clock, Shawn
Antoski got into a scuffle in front of the Devils bench and Stevens reached out
from the bench to go after Antoski. Stevens received a misconduct penalty at
the 20 minute mark to go with Antoski's roughing minor. What is particularly
interesting is that joining a scuffle from the bench is punishable with a
suspension. Brian Burke was in attendance, it will be interesting to see if
any action is taken.
That's all for now...
pete clark - rsh FLYERS contact and mailing list owner