Flyers vs. Devils Preview
NEWARK, NJ (AP) - The goaltender who helped the Philadelphia Flyers to last year's Stanley Cup finals recently was taken off the roster.
The one who led the New Jersey Devils to three championships isn't playing like he deserves a roster spot.
Martin Brodeur could be back in net trying to avoid the longest losing streak of his career Thursday night when the Devils host the Flyers to begin a home-and-home set.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Flyers -145 money line favorites for Thursday's game against the Devils. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 67% of more than 200 bets for this game have been placed on the Flyers -145.
The first round of last year's playoffs saw Brian Boucher outplay Brodeur as Philadelphia won the series in five games. Boucher got hurt in the next round and Michael Leighton took over, backstopping the Flyers on a run to the Cup finals before losing to Chicago in six games.
Injuries kept Leighton sidelined most of this season while Boucher and new No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky have played well. That prompted the Flyers (24-10-5) to waive Leighton on Monday, though he cleared waivers and was sent to the team's AHL affiliate.
"This has more to do with the way the other two guys have played," general manager Paul Holmgren said.
Brodeur's poor play from the series with Philadelphia has carried into this season. The NHL's all-time wins leader has a league-worst .882 save percentage and his 5-18-1 record is the worst of any goaltender with at least 10 starts.
"I don't know if it's positioning or working through traffic or working through anything," Brodeur told the team's official website. "I'm just trying to get that puck to hit me again."
He has a 4.80 goals-against average in his last seven starts and was pulled eight minutes into his last one, allowing three goals in a 6-3 defeat to Carolina on Saturday. Brodeur avoided taking the loss in that game but dropped his previous six to match the worst losing streak of his career, set March 22-April 1, 2009.
This might not be an ideal matchup for Brodeur to end that skid. He's lost 13 of 16 against Philadelphia, including four defeats in last year's playoffs, and the Flyers are scoring an Eastern Conference-best 3.33 goals per game.
These teams meet again Saturday in Philadelphia, where the Flyers spent a three-day break after splitting four games against Western opponents.
The last of those contests saw Philadelphia avoid a fourth loss in five games by winning in Detroit for the first time in 22 years, 3-2 on Sunday.
"We haven't been playing well the last four games and we wanted to get a big win," said Boucher, who made 25 saves en route to his fifth win in six starts.
Boucher suffered a 2-1 shootout loss in New Jersey on Nov. 27, and Bobrovsky started a 5-3 home win over the Devils on Dec. 4.
Johan Hedberg was in the opposite net for both meetings. He's 4-2-0 with a 1.45 GAA in his last seven games at the Prudential Center and started New Jersey's last game, a 2-1 home loss to Minnesota on Tuesday.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored for the league-worst Devils (10-27-2), who have only one goal in 10 games during their current 2-13-0 funk.
Danny Briere has a goal in both meetings with New Jersey this season after totaling two goals and three assists in the final two games of the teams' playoff series. He has 19 points in 18 road games, including five in the last four.