Flyers fall to 0-3 in shutout loss to Devils

Posted: January 23, 2013

NEWARK - Up went the New Jersey Devils' Eastern Conference championship banner the other day.

Down went the Flyers on Tuesday night, falling to the Devils, 3-0, and starting their season 0-3 for just the third time since the franchise started in 1967-68.

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur made 24 saves and shut out the Flyers for the 10th time.

"I wouldn't say it's a crisis," winger Wayne Simmonds said. "But I think it's fair to say the next game is a must win."

It was the home opener for the Devils, who used a suffocating defense as they eliminated the Flyers, four games to one, in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals.

This is all you need to know about the state of the punchless Flyers these days: Midway through Tuesday's game, they held a 13-5 advantage in shots - and trailed, 3-0, at the roaring, sold-out Prudential Center.

The Devils scored on three of their first four shots.

The Flyers allowed another power-play goal, thanks to another goofy deflection off one of their own player's skates. They surrendered a shorthanded goal, scored on a penalty shot by Ilya Kovalchuk, who turned goalie Ilya Bryzgalov inside out and beat him with a backhander. They huffed and puffed and outplayed the Devils from Newark to Newtown Square for the first half of the game.

But they came up empty. Again.

The Flyers also started the season 0-3 in the lockout-shortened 1995 season - they finished 28-16-4 and won the East, thanks to an early-season deal that netted them John LeClair and Eric Dejardins - and in 1989-90, when they finished 30-39-11. On four other occasions, they began a season winless in the first three games, but they had at least one tie (or overtime loss) in all of those starts.

The Flyers' power play was 0 for 6 and is 1 for 15 in three games.

"It has to be better, that's for sure.," captain Claude Giroux said.

Added Giroux: "I like our group. I like our attitude. We didn't stop playing. We just have to stay with it and bounces will start going our way."

Coach Peter Laviolette, trying to awaken an offense that produced a total of three goals in the first two games, changed all four of his lines.

No matter.

The Flyers kept the puck in New Jersey's end for most of the opening 20 minutes and outshot the Devils, 9-3.

One problem: The Devils scored on two of their three shots - one that caromed off the skate of Ruslan Fedotenko for a power-play goal with 25 seconds left in the period - and built a hard-to-fathom 2-0 lead.

David Clarkson, who tried to score on a wraparound, got credit for the goal after it ricocheted off Fedotenko and past Bryzgalov. The goalie had lost his stick seconds earlier and had no chance.

At that point, the Flyers had allowed opponents to score six power-play goals in 10 attempts in the young season.

Just 1:07 into the game, Travis Zajac, alone in front, knocked down a pass/shot and easily beat Bryzgalov to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead.

In between those two goals, the Flyers buzzed around Brodeur throughout the first period, but the legendary 40-year-old goalie made all the stops, including a handful of acrobatic ones that triggered "Marty, Marty, Marty" chants.

The Flyers have been outscored, 5-0, in the first period of their three games.


Contact Sam Carchidi at  scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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