On Thursday, May 3rd, the New Jersey Devils played host to the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL playoffs Eastern Conference semifinals. Prior to puck drop, this best of seven game series was tied at one game apiece.
The Flyers opened the scoring at the 6:08 mark of the first period with a power play goal by rookie forward Brayden Schenn. The Devils tied the game at the 12:33 mark with a power play goal of their own by forward Patrick Elias. Just 20 seconds later, New Jersey star forward Ilya Kovalchuk would take the lead for his team, returning to the lineup that night after missing the previous game with a lingering back injury.
Philadelphia defenseman Matt Carle made the game tied again with a goal at the 4:44 mark of the second period.
Forward and captain Zach Parise took the lead for the Devils again at the 7:29 mark in the third. The Flyers would respond with a goal from forward Danny Briere at the 11:04 mark. Regulation ended with the score knotted 3-3.
Near the end of the first overtime at the 17:21 mark, trade deadline acquisition Alexei Ponikarovsky became the hero for New Jersey scoring the game winning goal. The Devils won the game in overtime by a final score of 4-3. This was in spite of New Jersey having to kill two separate 2 minute minor penalties in the overtime period in which the Flyers were unable to capitalize on their power play opportunities.
Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 27 saves on 31 shots, and Devils goaltender Marty Brodeur made 25 saves on 28 shots.
New Jersey now leads the best of seven series 2 games to 1. They will again host the Flyers, this time for game 4, on Sunday, May 6th, at 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. Philadelphia will likely be without rookie defensive forward Sean Couturier for game 4, as he left game 3 with a lower body injury and did not return. The Flyers will look to tie the series before going back to Philadelphia for game 5.