Devils erupt in 4-1 win against Flyers to tie up semifinals series at 1-1
By Dan Gelston ,AP
May 3, 2012, 12:02 am TWN
PHILADEPHIA -- Adam Larsson and David Clarkson scored their first goals of the playoffs as the New Jersey Devils posted a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday to level their Eastern Conference semifinals series at 1-1.
Larsson and Clarkson scored consecutive goals in the third period to rally the Devils past the Flyers and make up for the absence of Ilya Kovalchuk. The Devils played without their regular-season leading scorer because of a lower body injury.
Travis Zajac added a late goal to make it 3-1, and Bryce Salvador scored a late empty-netter for the Devils.
Game 3 is Thursday in New Jersey.
Matt Read scored 2:53 into the game to give the Flyers hope they could jump to a commanding series lead. Instead, the offense went into a funk and goalie Ilya Bryzgalov couldn't protect the advantage.
Even without Kovalchuk, the Devils did what they wanted against Bryzgalov, taking close shots and dominating the play in the Flyers' zone.
Bryzgalov, who signed a US$51 million, nine-year deal last summer, was especially stout in the second period when he bailed out the Flyers offense with a 12-save period. The Flyers went more than 18 minutes in the period before taking a shot on Martin Brodeur.
"I didn't sense frustration. We were comfortable with how we played the first two periods," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "And it was just a matter of keeping it going in the third, and the goals came."
Kovalchuk's injury opened a roster spot for Larsson, a rookie defenseman, to be activated. His shot from the circle beat Bryzgalov on his glove side early in the third for the equalizer.
"Down a goal, third period, and it was huge," DeBoer said of the rookie's goal. "I feel great for Larsson. He's been out a few games, and he responded."
Clarkson made it 2-1 minutes later when he scored off a rebound. on Read's goal.