Flyers aim for 5th straight win as they host Devils
Claude Giroux, the NHL's reigning First Star of the Week, and the surging Philadelphia Flyers go for their fifth straight win when they host the slumping New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
The Flyers (28-19-9) went undefeated last week with Giroux compiling three goals and three assists. Giroux had a goal and an assist on Sunday when the Flyers defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 to become just the fourth team to win in the Golden Knights' home arena.
Sean Couturier had a goal and two assists and Michal Neuvirth made 38 saves as Philadelphia moved within one point of second-place Pittsburgh and within five of the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals.
"Our goals remain in place. They remain behind closed doors," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told NHL.com. "This team, all we want to talk about is every day coming out and competing hard for one another and sticking together. It's no different than four or five months ago, or at any point in the season."
The Flyers are 20-8-2 since Dec. 4 and their 42 points are the most in the division during that time.
Goaltender Brian Elliott sustained a lower-body injury during Saturday's shootout win at Arizona. Neuvirth finished that game and then defeated the Golden Knights.
"Neuvy was the best player out there tonight," Giroux told Philly.com. "He made a lot of big saves and was able to shut them down. Without him, we don't win this game."
New Jersey (27-20-8), which has lost four straight and 8 of 11, has a goaltending injury as well. The Devils placed Cory Schneider on injured reserve on Monday with a groin injury, retroactive to Jan. 23, when he was hurt against the Boston Bruins. He is expected to be out another week.
That leaves the net-minding to Keith Kinkaid and Eddie Lack. Kinkaid is 3-3-0 since Schneider's injury, but has lost three straight. Lack (0-1-0) made his first start for the Devils in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins.
New Jersey rallied from one-goal deficits three times before succumbing. It was a much better effort than during Saturday's 6-1 loss at Columbus.
"If you look at the response this team made after what happened (on Saturday), that right there tells you why this team is in the thick of the playoff race at this point in the season," Devils coach John Hynes told NHL.com. "Let's take it, let's build on it. Let's be ready to go on Tuesday."
Taylor Hall, Miles Wood and Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils, and Lack made 22 saves.
"He played well enough to earn himself another start," Hynes told nj.com. "We'll talk about that, but is it a consideration? Yes."
The Devils went 0-for-7 on the power play while allowing the Bruins to score two short-handed goals and a power play goal.
Hall's goal gave him at least a point in his past 14 games, and Palmieri has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past seven games.
The Flyers lead the season series 2-1.
Couturier had two goals and an assist in Philadelphia's 5-3 win at New Jersey on Jan. 13. One week later the Flyers prevailed 3-1 at home as Travis Konecny notched a goal and an assist and Neuvirth stopped 29 shots.
New Jersey answered on Feb. 1 as Palmieri has a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win.
Updated February 12, 2018