Devils slip past Flyers thanks to controversial call
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jaromir Jagr netted the game winner early in the third period, and Martin Brodeur picked up a milestone victory thanks to 30 saves, as New Jersey clipped Philadelphia, 2-1, in a Metropolitan Division clash on Tuesday.
In what could be his last start against his long-time nemeses, Brodeur earned his 50th win against the Orange and Black, improving his career record to 50-31-10.
Travis Zajac recorded the other tally and Tuomo Ruutu assisted on both for the Devils, who have won two in a row and four of their last six.
"I think that's a good word for it," said Devils head coach Peter DeBoer on his club's gritty win. "We knew we had to come out of here with one. We showed up, really battled and left everything on the ice. It wasn't a pretty game but we got the job done and [now we have to] keep moving forward here."
Nicklas Grossmann provided the lone offense and Steve Mason stopped 24 shots for the Flyers, who have lost two in a row after winning seven of their previous eight.
The end result was not without controversy. Mason was called to the bench for an extra skater with 1:42 to play, and just over a minute later, the hosts were deprived of a tying tally.
Scott Hartnell skated to the New Jersey crease in pursuit of a rebound, but was hit from behind by Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov. The force of the contact pushed Brodeur back towards the goal and the puck over the goal line.
After being immediately waved off, a brief review upheld the official's decision. Following the game, the league revealed the play could not be subject to review and could not be reversed since contact plays in the crease are subject to on-ice calls.
Thus, Hartnell was stripped of a key stat in his 500th game with the franchise.
"The only way they can reverse it was if the kicking motion but I don't think there was a kicking motion," offered Flyers captain Claude Giroux. "I think Volchenkov and Hartsy kind of collided. I think Volchenkov and Hartsy pushed Marty in the net, it's not just Hartsy. You can see Hartsy tries to stop. I don't know. It's a tough call."
Volchenkov played coy, saying: "I didn't really push him. It was a little bit of interference against the goalie. It was no goal."
Earlier on, another nemesis and former teammate put the hosts in a one-goal hole.
Capping more than a minute of pressure in the Philadelphia zone, Jagr managed to get a part of his stick blade on a rolling feed by Marek Zidlicky past Mason at the right post with 12:18 left in regulation.
Brodeur preserved the lead by making stops on Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek in close during a Flyers power play with 4:20 left in the contest as Jagr sat for a hooking minor.
Both sides failed to click on early power-play chances, but the Devils picked up the game's first goal after their opportunity went by the wayside. Mason was down in his crease early and unable to stop a shot by Zajac from the right side at 7:56.
Grossmann tied the game at the 47-second mark of the middle period, when his low shot from the boards along the left wing slipped through Brodeur's pads.
"Yeah, it probably should've been a difference but I thought during the first period and third period our power play looked good," noted Flyers head coach Craig Berube about his 0-for-6 man-advantage unit. "We shot the puck, had some good looks, second period not so good, but six power plays you've got to make it happen."
Brodeur has held the Flyers to one goal or fewer on 29 occasions during his illustrious career ... New Jersey has won six of its last eight games in Philly since Jan. 2011 ... Prior to the contest, the Flyers recalled forward Chris VandeVelde from Adirondack of the AHL ... The club also listed Zac Rinaldo as day-to-day with an upper-body injury ... Grossmann's score was his first since Feb. 20, 2013 at Pittsburgh, and snapped the Flyers' home scoreless streak against the Devils at 190 minutes, 26 seconds ... Philadelphia defenseman have accounted for 29 goals this season, the highest total since 2009-10 (32).