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NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at New Jersey



(Sunday, April 16th)

Final Score: New Jersey 5, Philadelphia 1

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Patrik Elias scored a pair of goals while adding an assist and Martin Brodeur made 25 saves, as the streaking New Jersey Devils kept first place in the Atlantic Division possible after a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Continental Airlines Arena.

Brian Gionta scored and also had an assist for New Jersey to extend his points streak to 14 games. In that span, he has 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points.

Scott Gomez and Jamie Langenbrunner also lit the lamp for the Devils, who have won 10 games in a row, the longest winning streak in the league this year, to climb into a tie with Philadelphia for the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 99 points.

The win by the Devils kept the Atlantic Division title wide open with New Jersey, Philadelphia and the New York Rangers all in contention. Both the Devils and Flyers trail the Rangers, who have 100 points, for the division lead with all three teams having just one game remaining on the schedule.

All three teams will be in action on Tuesday. Philadelphia travels to New York to play the Islanders, the Devils travel to Montreal and the Rangers host Ottawa.

Simon Gagne scored for the Flyers, who were once again without center Peter Forsberg as the center continues to battle a groin problem. Forsberg returned to the lineup in Saturday's win over the Rangers after missing four straight games, but was a late scratch in Sunday's contest after feeling tenderness in his groin before the game.

Robert Esche started in net for Philadelphia, but gave way to Antero Niittymaki early in the second. Esche allowed three goals on 12 shots faced, while Niittymaki stopped 6-of-8 shots faced in the loss, Philadelphia's sixth in its last 10 games.

"Everybody knows he's been a little sore," Niittymaki said of Forsberg's absence. "It happens, it's not a big deal. We've won without him before so we felt pretty confident."

Philadelphia could not duplicate its fast start in Saturday's game against the Rangers, as the Devils took a 1-0 lead 5:56 into the contest on Gionta's 46th goal of the season, which tied the Devils' single-season mark for goals in a season.

Gionta stretched his points streak after Gomez found him in front of the net with a pass from the point. Esche made the save on Gionta's first shot, but the rebound sat to the goaltender's right and Gionta easily put the puck into the net.

"It's nothing I was chasing from the start, but it was an honor to be considered among the great players (in this organization)," said Gionta on tying the mark.

The Devils held a 2-0 lead after a back-breaking goal with just 46 seconds left in the first. Elias netted the goal, the 500th point of his career, after he took a pass in the right circle and whistled a shot past Esche's blocker.

New Jersey then extended to a 3-0 lead after Gomez lit the lamp on a shot from the left circle past Esche's glove 2:24 into the second.

The Flyers, though, struck back just 30 seconds later on Gagne's 46th goal of the season. After a shot by Mike Richards, Gagne grabbed a loose puck in the right corner, skated into the outside of the circle and unleashed a shot that got past Brodeur for a 3-1 contest.

The Devils used a second late-period tally to go ahead 4-1. Langenbrunner's 18th goal of the season gave New Jersey the three-goal edge after he put in a rebound over a sprawled out Niittymaki, who could not control the shot from the left point by Brad Lukowich with 37.6 seconds left until the second intermission.

Brodeur and the Devils took over from there in the third and improved to 31-0-4 when leading after two periods.

Elias' second goal of the game capped the scoring for the Devils at 11:01 of the third.

Game Notes

New Jersey has won five games in a row at home and improved to 8-0-0 in the month of April...Gionta tied Pat Verbeek for most goals in a season. Verbeek netted 46 goals during the 1987-88 season...Flyers' defenseman Denis Gauthier left the game with an upper body injury...Gomez has points in six straight games...New Jersey's Brad Lukowich finished with three assists.

04/16 17:39:36 ET


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