SECOND PERIOD RECAP:The Devils power play delivered in the second period. Unfortunately for New Jersey, its penalty kill unit couldn’t do the same.
The Devils took a 3-2 lead 13:25 into the second period when Ilya Kovalchuk found Patrik Elias at the top of the left circle, who then fed Andy Greene in between the circles. Greene’s wrister from about 15 feet out beat Boucher to his left, giving New Jersey its first power play goal in eight opportunities in the series.
But veteran Philadelphia defenseman Chris Pronger helped his team even it up at 3-3 by doing his best Sean Avery impression. Pronger was planted in front of Brodeur, clearly bothering the Devils goalie during a Flyer power play late in the second. And it worked, as Pronger was able to block Brodeur’s view and tip Kimmo Timonen's wrist shot past the Devils goalie with 1:12 to go in the second. It didn’t look like Brodeur ever saw the puck. If he did, it definitely wasn't a clear look with the 6-6 Pronger blocking his sight-lines.
The Devils tied it at 2-2 earlier in the second when Colin White’s wrist shot from the left circle trickled through Boucher’s pads and into the back of the net at 3:44.
FIRST PERIOD RECAP: The Devils took an early lead 1-0 on a short-handed goal from Zach Parise just 2:45 into the first period. But New Jersey gave it right back when Flyers forward and former Devil Arron Asham cut to the right post and tipped in a great feed from Claude Giroux at 9:33. Philadelphia then took a 2-1 lead on a power-play goal from Giroux, who deflected Matt Carle’s shot from the left side past Martin Brodeur with 4:30 to go in the first.
Flyers goalie Brian Boucher stopped 10 of 11 shots in the opening period, including two great saves on power-play chances in front of the net. The Devils went 0-for-2 on the power play and left the ice at the end of the first to a smattering of boos. They are now 0-for-7 in the series with a man-advantage. Including the regular season, New Jersey is just 5-for-39 on the power play in 22 periods against the Flyers.
7:30 p.m.: Here are the starting lineups and scratches for tonight:
C Dainius Zubrus
F Zach Parise
F Patrik Elias
D Bryce Salvador
D Martin Skoula
G Martin Brodeur
D Mark Fraser
C Rod Pelley
F Vladimir Zharkov
F Jay Pandolfo
F Andrew Peters
D Anssi Salmela
C Jeff Carter
F Scott Hartnel
F Danny Briere
D Chris Pronger
D Matt Carle
G Brian Boucher
D Lukas Krajicek
F Ville Leino
F Riley Cote
G Jeremy Duchesne
6:58 p.m.: It’s not quite do-or-die time for the Devils, but it might as well be.
With a loss in Game 2 Friday night at the Prudential Center, the No. 2 seed Devils would be in an 0-2 hole in their best-of-seven first-round series against the seventh-seeded Flyers. The series shifts to Philadelphia for Games 3 (Sunday, 6 p.m.) and 4 (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.).
New Jersey has bounced back from an 0-2 deficit just once in franchise history (1994 Conference semifinals vs. Boston). They’ve been in an 0-2 hole six times, including the 2007 playoffs, when they lost in the first round to the Rangers in five games.
Captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who has played in four series in which the Devils fell behind 0-2, told reporters after practice today that the Devils needed to play with desperation tonight.
“We played a pretty cautious game in Game 1,” Langenbrunner said. “We played extremely well defensively. We limited their chances, but we weren’t as desperate as we needed to be to win hockey games in the playoffs. We need to bring that effort (tonight).”
And he’s right. While Game 2 technically isn’t a must-win for the Devils, it might as well be. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.