Adam Mair and Travis Zajac also scored for the Devils, who had dropped three in a row — all in overtime or shootouts. They appeared headed for extra time again until Kovalchuk scored his third goal in three games. Martin Brodeur stopped 26 shots for the win.
Jeff Carter and Nikolai Zherdev scored for the Flyers (3-1-1).
Brian Boucher, who could play a major early-season role because of the injury to Flyers No. 1 goalie Michael Leighton, made 25 saves.