These two teams have history if you look back through the years at the memorable playoff battles and regular season tussles for supremacy in the Atlantic Division where it was either the Devils or the Flyers that would clinch the top spot by season's end. Although the rivalry with the New York Rangers is much stronger than that of the Flyers, the Devils still consider the "Broad Street Bullies" as their enemies and with the new addition in the form of Ilya Kovalchuk, this heated matchup just got taken to a whole new level.
Tonight's game was the first of a double header between the teams, the other game set to take place Wednesday at the Prudential Center.
It was quite clear that the Devils were going to look to exploit the Flyers' habit of taking penalties early on in the game. Danny Briere took a high sticking penalty so the new look Devils power play took to the ice and cashed in on the man advantage. Devils sniper Zach Parise got his 26th goal of the year when he scored on what can only be a humorous play if you're not a fan of Chris Pronger. The 25 year old tried to send a pass to Patrik Elias, who was breaking in, but the puck went off of the skate of the dirtiest defenseman in the league. The Devils wanted to match the Flyers in physicality throughout the course of the game, proving a point when Bryce Salvador fought goon Dan Carcillo and beat him hands down to give his team momentum.
The second period started with a bang, in more than one sense, when the Flyers power play was taken apart by Anssi Salmela and after fending off Flyers captain Mike Richards put the biscuit in the basket shorthanded to give the Devils the lead 2-0. But what I didn't say was that at the same time Salmela shot the puck, Flyers forward Jeff Carter coasted in on the back check and leveled Salmela from his blind side. From one side, it looked like Carter purposely came in to take off Salmela's head and from another view, it seemed like Carter was just trying to put bump him off the puck. Either way Salmela was knocked out cold and was seen laying on the ice for several minutes before being taken off on a stretcher. Salmela was seen bleeding and sustained a broken nose and lost several teeth but according to Devils trainers was feeling okay and was able to walk around so that is very good news.
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