NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell scored two goals apiece to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-2 victory over the fast-fading New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Ville Leino had a career-high three assists, and Brian Boucher made 18 saves as the Flyers improved their NHL-best road record to 13-4-3.
Briere snapped a 2-2 tie early in the third period with his 19th goal and gave the Flyers breathing room with 8:26 to go when his centering pass deflected off the skate of Devils defenseman Colin White past goalie Johan Hedberg.
Dainius Zubrus and David Clarkson scored for New Jersey, which has won only twice in 16 games.
The loss was the 28th in regulation this season for New Jersey, one more than the Devils had in each of the previous two seasons.
What made this one interesting was the Devils started Hedberg for the second straight game for slumping goalie Martin Brodeur.
Hedberg played well, but the Flyers were just too good.
Briere’s go-ahead goal at 2:48 of the third came after Leino’s pass from the right side boards deflected off the stick of a Devils player and went to Briere alone between the circles. He fired a shot into the top corner of the net.
Boucher preserved the lead with a big save on a slap shot by Jason Arnott with 11:15 to go.
Briere’s 20th goal put the game away. He missed an open net with a little over a minute to play, costing him a hat trick.
While they have struggled much of the season, the Devils (10-28-2) played one of their better games.
Hedberg came up with two magnificent saves in the first 35 minutes. He stopped Briere during a power play in close in the first period, and denied Andreas Nodl with a split save in the second after the Flyers played tic-tac-toe with the puck. He also made a great poke check to stop a breakaway by James Van Riemsdyk in the opening period.
However, he was victimized by the Prudential Center boards for the second straight game while nursing the 1-0 lead that Zubrus provided on a first-period deflection past Boucher.
Leino fired a dump-in from center ice, and the puck took a weird diagonal bounce off the end boards. It eluded Hedberg and went to Hartnell for a backhander into an open net.
The goal started a wild final five minutes to the second period.
Clarkson put the Devils back in front less than two minutes later when he beat Boucher on a semi-breakaway. However, the red light never went on and play continued for about a minute before the shot was reviewed and determined to have clearly gone into the net. That ended Clarkson’s 17-game goal drought.
The lead lasted only 74 seconds. Leino skated around Brian Rolston in the Devils’ zone and centered a pass that Hartnell banged into the net for his 12th goal, and second in 3:08.
In the Devils’ 2-1 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night, Clayton Stoner scored the winner for the Wild in the third period when his dump in from center ice took a crazy bounce off the side boards and went into an open net after Hedberg went behind the cage to play the puck.
NOTES: The last time Brodeur dressed as a backup for two straight games was January 2004. … Patrik Elias got an assist on Zubrus’s goal, making him the Devils’ career scoring leader against the Flyers with 65 points. He surpassed John MacLean, who was fired as Devils coach earlier this season. … New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner was scratched, amid speculation that he might soon be traded.
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