The New Jersey Devils scored first on Friday night to take an early 1-0 lead, but the Philadelphia Flyers scored three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead into the locker room after one period of play. Led by Ilya Kovalchuk's three assist night, the Devils were able to rally in the final two periods and come away with a 5-3 win to improve to 9-2-3 on the season and hold first place in the Eastern Conference.
Travis Zajac, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Patrik Elias, David Clarkson, and Steve Bernier scored for New Jersey, all on even strength. Bernier's goal was an empty net to seal the win. Martin Brodeur made 25 saves and helped start the comeback with an assist on Ponikarovsky's tally 26 seconds into the second period. The Devils finished with just 19 shots on goal.
David Clarkson scored his team leading 10th goal of the season, which turned out to be the game winner in the third period. It came off a point shot by Adam Larsson that Clarkson redirected by Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
"I don't know what it is, but I just keep going to the goal and eventually I'm going to get a chance to score," said Clarkson, who is showing his career-high 30-goal season a year ago wasn't a fluke. "A lot of it is just being in the right area. The biggest thing is that we're winning and we're getting the scoring spread out."
In order to make room for newly acquired Alexei Ponikarovsky, Stefan Matteau was a healthy scratch. Henrik Tallinder and Peter Harrold were also healthy scratches for New Jersey. Dainius Zubrus remains sidelined on the injured reserve after having wrist surgery earlier this week. He is expected to miss anywhere from two to eight weeks.
The Devils will now travel to Long Island for a Saturday evening meeting with the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum. The puck drops at 7 p.m..