Yikes. The New Jersey Devils (27-37-14) were shut out by the Philadelphia Flyers (38-32-8) this season and drop to 3-1-0 in the season series; they were outshot 41-32 and outscored 3-0. Jersey native Anthony Stolarz stopped all 26 shots faced to pick up the shutout, and was rightfully the game’s First Star. Cory Schneider stopped 38 of 41 shots against (.927 save percentage). The Devils have now dropped six straight, and have won just two of their last 20 games overall. Philadelphia is on a four-game win streak and sits six points behind Boston for the final wildcard spot in the East.
Brayden Schenn, Colin McDonald (his first), and Jordan Weal scored for the Flyers, and went 2/5 on the man advantage tonight. John Quenneville came close to ending Stolarz’s shutout bid with his tally in the third but it was challenged on the basis of offsides and the call on the ice was overturned.
New Jersey had an awful night in the faceoff circle, winning just 28.2% of them. They failed to score on any of their four power play opportunities, and didn’t have a great night all around.
The main story, however, is the fire and the passion that both teams bring out in each other. It was an intense game all night long. The Flyers were looking for a very important two points, while the Devils just needed a win. They had beaten their rivals all three times already by a combined score of 14-3 and have no scored no fewer than four goals in each of those games, so I guess you could say that the Flyers were due for a win like this against the Devils.
There were a fair number of fights. Dalton Prout and Wayne Simmonds got into a scrap eight minutes into the second; Prout received a game misconduct but held his own (it was a good fight). Both Prout and Simmonds received fighting majors as well. Prout had intended to fight Radko Gudas but Prout’s hit sent him to the ice and into the locker room; Gudas had leveled Quenneville just moments earlier. Travis Zajac (!) also received a roughing penalty for going after Dale Weise boarded Kyle Palmieri into the stanchion, while Weise received a boarding call and a game misconduct. Palmieri was down on the ice for a little bit but was ultimately okay and returned to the ice. Adam Henrique and Brandon Manning got into a scrap (?) in the third but not exactly, mainly because the referees didn’t allow them to go at each other but they both received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Miles Wood, who’s always ready to fight and is 24th in the NHL in penalties in minutes with 84 (and leads the team in PIM), fought Simmonds for the second time this series. Both received roughing penalties and misconducts. The two teams racked up 82 minutes in penalties tonight (New Jersey with two more than Philadelphia).
Thoughts and prayers are with Michal Neuvirth, who collapsed during the first period. He did start to move before being stretchered off the ice, and it was a nice moment of solidarity between both teams. No one wants to see a guy go down like that. I hope he’s doing okay and makes a full recovery.
The two teams will meet again for their season finale Tuesday night at The Rock to kick off Fan Appreciation Week; Patrik Elias will be there to drop the ceremonial puck. Puck officially drops at 7PM.