Flyers-Devils 5 Things: Keeping It Going Against Struggling New Jersey

Flyers (32-29-8) at Devils (25-31-12)
7 p.m. on CSN/CSNPhilly.com and NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers head to Newark, New Jersey, on Thursday night to face off against the Eastern Conference's worst, Devils, at the Prudential Center on the backend of a back-to-back.

Philadelphia Flyers

Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers and their rivals in the NHL from NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Flyers Show Off Depth by Rolling Penguins Late in Opener

Philly Live's Aunyea Lachelle Gets ‘Gritty' for Flyers Season

Let's take a closer look game No. 70 for the orange and black.

1. Building blocks
On Wednesday night, the Flyers played with a sense of urgency that has been lacking in the last two weeks, and it resulted in an impressive 4-0 shutout of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Flyers welcomed the lethal Penguins to the Wells Fargo Center and shut out the league's highest-scoring team. Sidney Crosby was held in check by the Flyers' top line, Sean Couturier scored his second goal in his last 17 games and fired a career-high eight shots on net, and a new-look power-play unit struck once in four tries. Ivan Provorov played a career-high 27:17, surpassing his previous career-high set two games ago.

"It's the type of effort we needed, every game really," said Steve Mason, who made 23 saves in his third shutout of the season. "That's the type of hockey that dictates how you win hockey games. Tonight was a good game for us to get back in the win column, and it was definitely an effort you can look back on and use it as a building block moving forward."

It was one of the Flyers' strongest 60-minute efforts this season, which is also frustrating because this team has underperformed throughout and that's the reason they are where they are -- desperate for help in their fight to squeak into the playoffs.

Thirteen games remain for the Flyers and if they want their playoff lives to stay on life support, they cannot afford to lose more than four games the rest for the way. They especially can ill afford to lose Thursday night in New Jersey against the Devils.

2. Still breathing
The Flyers' win over the Penguins on Wednesday night helped keep their slim playoff hopes alive by picking up two points against one of the league's elite teams.

Entering Thursday night, the Flyers are now five points behind the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning, both of which have 77 points. The Islanders currently hold the second and final wild-card spot in the East because of tiebreakers. The Flyers, Islanders and Lightning all have 13 games left on the schedule. Toronto, which has 76 points, has a game in hand on all three. To make the playoffs, the Flyers would have to finish with more points than any of the teams ahead of them because of tiebreakers. All four teams have more regulation and overtime wins than the Flyers, which is the first tiebreaker. The Flyers have one game left with the Islanders on March 30 but none with the Maple Leafs and Lightning.

With 13 games left on the schedule and not owning the first tiebreaker with any of the teams they're chasing, the Flyers' playoff chances remain extremely improbable, but the two points gained on Wednesday night keeps them breathing for another day.

3. The Devil wins nada
The Devils have had the Flyers' number this season, outscoring the orange and black, 8-1, in their first two meetings, but those two games were a long time ago. New Jersey has not won in 28 days and enters Thursday on the longest losing streak this season: 10 games.

Going back 12 games, the Devils have just one win. In 20 games since beating the Flyers, 4-1, in Philadelphia on Jan. 21, New Jersey is just 5-12-3. During their current 10-game losing streak, the Devils have lost seven games by just one goal, including its last game, 5-4, to Arizona in which it trailed, 4-0, at one point, so they're not getting blown out in games.

New Jersey's power play is one for its last 12 opportunities, but since Feb. 1, it's striking at a 34.2 percent success rate -- 13 for 38. During its 10-game skid, the PP is six for 21. The Devils' penalty kill, however, has had less success since Feb. 1 and during the skid.

During the 10-game downfall, the Devils' PK is 19 for 26 (73.1 percent), yielding two power-play goals in the 5-4 loss to the Coyotes last Saturday. Since Feb. 1, the Devils' kill is 35 for 45 (77.8 percent). Overall, New Jersey is 19th in the NHL at 80.5 percent.

4. Keep an eye on …
Flyers: Claude Giroux scored a 5-on-5 goal on Wednesday night -- he's allowed to do that -- for his 14th marker of the season. The Flyers' captain enters Thursday's game against Jersey on a five-game point streak. In 69 games, Giroux has 50 points.

Devils: Let's roll with Kyle Palmieri, who has seven goals and 11 points in his last 10 games and two goals in two games this season against the Flyers. Palmieri leads New Jersey with 22 goals, seven power-play tallies and 18 power-play points. He also has seven goals -- three game-winners -- and 11 points in nine career games against the Flyers.

5. This and that
• The Devils' game on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets was postponed because of snow.

• Cory Schneider is expected to make his 53rd start of the season for the Devils. Schneider is 19-22-10 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season. He pitched a 16-save shutout against the Flyers in a 4-0 win back on Dec. 22.

• Wayne Simmonds scored his 200th career goal in Wednesday's 4-0 shutout win over the Pens. Simmonds now has 29 goals this season, 15 of which have come on the power play.

• Devils center Travis Zajac (39 points) is expected to return to the lineup after missing last Saturday's game to be with his wife for the birth of his third child.

• Jordan Weal (lower body) did not play Wednesday. He's considered day-to-day. Weal likely will not play against the Devils. Brandon Manning also missed Wednesday's game -- his second straight because of an upper-body injury. His status is unknown for Thursday.

Copyright CSNPhily
Contact Us