Thursday, November 07, 2013

Flyers remain desert dry as Brodeur pitches another shutout

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor 

Philadelphia, PA -- Martin Brodeur may be leaving the NHL after this season, but you can bet he wasn't going to do so without putting some more dirty footprints on Philadelphia ice.

On Thursday, he didn't have to work much, making 22 saves to post his 12th career shutout against his rivals in a 3-0 decision which continues to leave the multitudes asking where and when the Flyers offense will materialize.

''I've played the way I feel capable of playing, and I feel comfortable,'' Brodeur said, though it will be Cory Schneider in net against Toronto. ''I've been working hard in practice, knowing I don't get as many starts as I would like.''

Ray Emery also stopped 22 shots but came up two short. In four starts and five appearances this season, he has been given exactly four goals of support -- and that includes a 1-0 victory in Newark against these same Devils on Saturday.

Philadelphia has hit the net just 22 times in 15 games, good enough for a 1.46 goals-per-game clip, far and away the worst in the league so far.

The Orange and Black lost to a team connecting at 1.86 GPG, only two spots higher, coming into the contest.

''I've got to get them to play better, that's my job,'' coach Craig Berube said, hunching slightly over his podium. ''It's not a hard game. It's about competitiveness and a will to win and to do all the little things right to win.''

Any hope of building on the successes from the game in Newark evaporated just as the sparse crowd settled in. Eric Gelinas' left-point drive changed direction off the shaft of Adam Henrique's stick between the circles and crossed up Emery just enough for a 1-0 Devils edge just three seconds shy of the two-minute mark.

The Flyers then failed to convert two straight power-play opportunities and trailed by a goal after one period. In all, the hosts came up empty on three chances, but their 10 percent efficiency rate still ranks better than Winnipeg, Anaheim and Florida.

"We got outworked tonight, and that can't happen," Berube lamented about his team's play with the extra man.

In a scoreless second frame, both sides had some close calls but weren't able to squeeze off many quality chances.

One that didn't change into a crooked number for the Devils was a contested breakaway up the middle from Mattias Tedenby, but Emery was equal and looked more than a bit like Steve Mason in sliding across his crease to smother the chance.

Cam Janssen, who hadn't played all season, made it a two-goal spread for the visitors just after the three-minute mark of the third period. An errant clear from Kris Newbury found the stick of Adam Larsson at the right point, and his shot deflected off Janssen and then Andrej Meszaros.

"Couldn't have happened to a better guy, and it was just what we needed," said Devils head coach Peter DeBoer. 

Jaromir Jagr deposited the clincher into the empty net with 1.6 seconds to play.

Craig Berube has less than 48 hours to figure out how to salvage some kind of positives for the basement dwellers of the Metropolitan Division and build on them with haste, as the Edmonton Oilers are coming to town for a 1 PM start on Saturday.

One thing that should not become a distraction is captain Claude Giroux going 21 games and counting without a goal, or the fact that he was unavailable to reporters following the loss. 

Notes:  Brodeur also extended his NHL record to 122 career whitewashes...The Flyers haven't been blanked in consecutive home games since the Maple Leafs and Devils turned the trick on Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 2002...New Jersey has shut out the Orange and Black in consecutive games at Philadelphia, after taking a 3-0 decision last April 18 here...At their current pace, the Flyers will score just 120 goals over the course of the whole season, far and away one of the worst numbers in NHL history...New Jersey has won five of its last seven games here in the regular season...Janssen has four goals in 313 career games, and the tally was his first red light since March 30, 2011 for St. Louis ...Nicklas Grossman reached his 400th NHL game, and that milestone aside, did little to deserve the 3rd star. Brodeur was the second star and Henrique earned 1st star honors...Gelinas left the game and did not return due to a left foot injury. He left the arena on crutches, but x-rays taken proved negative.

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