NHL Playoffs 2012: Watch New Jersey Devils Beat Philadelphia Flyers in OT
Playing for his fifth team in the past three years, Alexei Ponikarovsky put an exclamation point on what has been a turbulent stretch in his career, sneaking a backhander past the Flyers' Ilya Bryzgalov with 2:39 left in overtime to give the Devils a 2-1 series lead on Thursday.
For Ponikarovsky, it's his first goal of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it gave New Jersey a second-straight win after the Flyers won the series opener.
Ponikarovsky received a beautiful stretch pass from Ilya Kovalchuk, crossed the blue line and streaked toward the Flyer net. His initial shot was saved by Bryzgalov, but he put home the rebound on the backhand.
The Devils had led in the third period after a Zach Parise wrap-around goal, but Danny Briere's eighth goal of the playoffs four minutes later tied the game for Philadelphia.
Both teams registered six shots in overtime, but only Ponikarovsky's found the back of the net.
The Devils also received goals from Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias in the first period, while Philadelphia was bolstered by Brayden Schenn and Matt Carle.
Martin Brodeur stopped 25-of-28 shots faced, while Ilya Bryzgalov was equal to the task, stopping 27-of-31 pucks, but he fell short, allowing such an opportunistic rebound in overtime.
Philadelphia and New Jersey will faceoff on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Prudential Center, with the Devils looking to take a 3-1 series lead.
Ryan O'Leary is a writer and researcher for Bleacher Report's Video Production Department with seven years of experience in sports media.
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