Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Jeff Carter tallied two goals and an assist while Brian Boucher was strong with 30 saves, as the Philadelphia Flyers downed New Jersey, 4-1, in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Wachovia Center. 

Danny Briere registered a goal and two assists for the Flyers, who now hold a 3-1 lead in the series. Dan Carcillo, who netted the game-winner in overtime on Sunday in Game 3, also scored in the victory.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored the only goal for New Jersey, which is trying to avoid an early playoff exit for the third consecutive spring. Martin Brodeur allowed four goals on 28 shots in the losing effort.

Game 5 of this best-of-seven set will shift back to Newark on Thursday.

The Flyers will certainly not rest comfortably with this series lead. Both forward Simon Gagne — who left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return — and Boucher were on the roster 10 years ago when the Devils rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat Philly in the Eastern Conference finals.

That playoff series is remembered not only for the amazing comeback by the Devils, but also the hit by former Devils defenseman Scott Stevens that knocked Eric Lindros from the game after Lindros had just returned from a concussion, in New Jersey’s Game 7 victory.

In an opening period that played out much like Sunday’s Game 3 in which Philadelphia was whistled for four minors in the first 10 minutes, the Devils took advantage after Chris Pronger and Braydon Coburn were sent off within a 1:08 span.

With 29 seconds to go on the 5-on-3, Kovalchuk’s second goal of the series gave the Devils the lead. He picked up the puck along the left half-wall, skated into the slot, faked a shot to maneuver around Blair Betts and fired a wrist shot past Boucher from the inner rim of the right circle at 12:24.

Brodeur kept it a one-goal game with an unbelievable glove save on Gagne early in the second. On a broken play, Gagne was all alone in the low slot and fired a wrister, but Brodeur — while laying on the ice — snared the shot with his glove.

New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene then thwarted another good scoring chance for Philadelphia when he poked away a pass by Briere on a 2-on-1.

An interference penalty on Rob Niedermayer at the 8:51 mark led to a 1-1 tie when Carter netted his first goal of the postseason 17 seconds into the power play. Briere held control along the lower left side close to the half-wall and cycled with Carter, who corralled the disc, curled around the near circle and beat Brodeur with a wrist shot inside the far post.

Briere’s tally in a 4-on-4 situation with 2:33 remaining before the second intermission gave the Flyers a 2-1 advantage, as he streaked down the right- wing side and, from the circle, fired a slap shot that beat Brodeur over the glove.

After the Devils failed to convert a power-play chance early in the third period, Carcillo, from near the goal line to the right of the net, banked the puck off of Brodeur’s pad and into the back of the cage at the 4:10 mark for a two-goal lead.

Carter’s second power-play goal of the contest capped the scoring midway through the final stanza.

Philadelphia was skating with a two-man advantage due to a tripping minor called on Bryce Salvador and a holding infraction on Jamie Langenbrunner. With time winding down on the Salvador penalty, Pronger released a slap shot from the point that was stopped by Brodeur’s pad. However, the rebound was loose atop the crease and Carter poked it home with a backhander.

Game Notes

This marks the first time since the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals that the Flyers have held a 3-1 series edge, and the Flyers won that series in five over the Montreal Canadiens…Philadelphia has won 17 of the 19 series in which it has held a 3-1 lead, and besides the Devils loss in 2000, also blew a seven-game series to Washington in 1988…Gagne appeared to block several shots prior to his exit…If necessary, Game 6 would return to Philly on Sunday…The Flyers were 2-for-8 on the power play, while the Devils ended 1- for-8 with the extra skater..Zach Parise and Brian Rolston assisted on Kovalchuk’s goal.

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