On most nights, a game between the rival Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils will bring a contingent of orange-clad fans to the Prudential Center.
Tonight, though, the Devils expect to see nothing but red.
“It’s an exciting night,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “We waited a long time for it. Our fans were so great last year during the playoff run that it will be great to be in that atmosphere again.”
The Devils and Flyers will renew their rivalry tonight at the Prudential Center. Game time is 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on the NBC Sports Network.
The Atlantic Division rivals will meet for the first time since last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals series. After dropping the opening game of that series, New Jersey rattled off four straight wins, knocking out the Flyers. They outscored Philadelphia, 19-10, never recording less than three goals in a game.
The Flyers haven’t won since then. Philadelphia has dropped its first two games of the season, losing by a combined score of 8-3. They’ve allowed five powerplay goals, and currently sit 27th in the league in goals allowed.
Buffalo dropped Philadelphia, 5-2, in the Flyers first road game of the season. Trailing by one goal after the opening period, Philadelphia jumped out a 2-1 lead on goals from Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. But the wheels fell off after that, with Buffalo striking back for three unanswered goals. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 36 shots in the loss.
That slow start doesn’t have the Devils marking Philadelphia as an easy target.
“As teams you always want to get that first win under your belt when you start two games in a row without winning you’re definitely anxious. You’re going to press,” Martin Brodeur told Gulitti. “For us, it’s kind of a good situation because we know we’re going to have to be really good. We know we have to be ready for them.”
“We’ve just go to play our game. We’re the team that took them out of the playoffs last year, so there’s always that thing and they’re going to come back. Both teams have similar players on the same side (compared to their lineups from last season’s playoffs), so there’s still the history from that. So, it should be a good game.”
New Jersey won it’s season-opener, 2-1, against the New York Islanders Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. Travis Zajac and David Clarkson scored for New Jersey, who won the team’s first opener since the 2008-09 season opener. Brodeur stopped 18 shots in his 18th straight season opening start.
“I thought we were pretty resilient,” DeBoer said about the game. “I thought we played a good game. The Islanders played hard in their home opener. They made us earn it. It was a hard-fought game at ice level. For the first game in five or six months, I thought structurally we were pretty good and we got some big saves from Marty when we needed them.”
The Devils went 7-4 on home ice during the postseason, including two wins over the Flyers. Those performances, coupled with all 11 home games being sold out, has the players excited to get back on home ice.
“Our fans have always been there for us, especially with the great run we had in the playoffs,” Brodeur told Gulitti. “They were tremendous, one of the reasons why we went so far. The support we had, we never really gave them much to celebrate in this building before and when we give them (playoff success), they really took it and embraced it. We’re looking to continue on the same wave on what we accomplished last season and definitely we need these guys to come back and support us as well as they can. And what a great match-up to start the year at home, that’s for sure.”