The New Jersey Devils came from two goals behind to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 in a high-scoring National Hockey League encounter at the Prudential Center on Friday.
After snatching the lead with a goal from Travis Zajac after just 40 seconds, the Devils gave up three goals in less than three minutes to trail 3-1 at the end of the first period.
Wayne Simmonds tied the scores with a power play goal then Mike Knuble and Matt Read quickly added goals to put the Flyers in front after a two minute, 36 seconds scoring blitz.
However, the Devils (9-2-3) regained their composure, scoring four unanswered goals to cement their position at the top of the Eastern Conference standings while Philadelphia (6-8-1) slipped further behind in the shortened 48-game season.
“You have to win all kinds of different ways in a short season,” New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer told reporters. “Not all of them are pretty.”
“I thought we were sitting back and we were watching instead of dictating ... we were giving them too much room and that’s not our game,” he said.
“During the first intermission, we talked about system play, about closing up a little bit and taking away some of their time and space,” DeBoer said.
Alexei Ponikarovsky and Patrick Elias both scored in the second period as New Jersey tied it up at 3-3 before David Clarkson scored his 10th goal of the season to put the Devils back in front with 9:17 remaining.
Steve Bernier scored an empty-net goal with 1:36 left on the clock when Ilya Bryzgalov, who made 14 saves, was pulled.
Martin Brodeur made 25 stops for the Devils and recorded his 41st career assist for his help with Ponikarovsky’s goal.
“You have to find all different ways to win. We found a way to get points and proved why our team is so resilient,” Devils captain Bryce Salvador said.
“We don’t want to have these slow starts, but we’re finding ways to turn those around,” he said.
In other NHL games it was:
‧ Buffalo 4, Boston 2
‧ Pittsburgh 3, Winnipeg 1
‧ Anaheim 5, Detroit 2
‧ Chicago 4, San Jose 1
‧ St Louis 5, Calgary 2
‧ Dallas 4, Vancouver 3
‧ Los Angeles 2, Columbus 1