New Jersey at Philadelphia

Lukowich lifts Devils past Flyers with game winner in overtime

CBS wire reports

PHILADELPHIA -- A pair of veteran backliners made the difference on a night a low-scoring rookie defenseman turned into a passing specialist.

Brad Lukowich scored with 49.5 seconds left in overtime and the New Jersey Devils beat Philadelphia 6-5 on Thursday night, extending the Flyers' franchise-worst, home-losing streak to 12 games.

Alexandre Picard set a Flyers record for rookies with five assists. The first-year defenseman had been scoreless in 19 games and came in with two goals and six assists in 36 games.

Zach Parise scored the tying goal with 31.8 seconds left in regulation after Peter Forsberg gave the Flyers a 5-4 lead with 4:10 left.

Lukowich redirected a one-timer by fellow defenseman Brian Rafalski past goalie Antero Niittymaki to win it.

"I had a bad 63 minutes, so I had to have at least one good shift," Lukowich said. "Hopefully the coach will forget about most of the bad shifts I had. I felt like I was trying to do too much. It was one of those games. I just felt I had to contribute better."

Travis Zajac scored two goals, and Patrik Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner also scored for the Atlantic Division-leading Devils.

Mike Knuble had two goals, and Ben Eager and Dimitry Afanasenkov added goals for the Flyers. Picard fell one assist short of Eric Lindros' team record set in 1997.

"Some of those goals, I didn't have anything to do with," Picard said. "Peter (Forsberg) put it right there and I took the shot."

The Flyers haven't won at home since beating former coach Ken Hitchcock in his debut with Columbus on Nov. 24, and have just three victories there in 24 games.

With Martin Brodeur off the ice for an extra skater, Parise took a behind-the-net pass from Langenbrunner and scored his 19th goal to force overtime.

The Devils improved to 5-0 against Philadelphia. The division rivals usually battle each other for first place, but are polar opposites this season. The Flyers have the NHL's fewest wins (12) and points (31), and are sure to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1994, while New Jersey is fighting for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference.

"We see each other so often that each game gets more interesting," Zajac said.

Just 40 seconds after Knuble's second goal on the power play gave the Flyers a 4-3 lead, Langenbrunner tied it with his 17th. Langenbrunner's shot from the left circle bounced off Niittymaki's glove and went in.

Forsberg set up Knuble's go-ahead goal with a perfect, cross-ice pass to Picard. Knuble redirected Picard's shot past Brodeur for his 19th.

"It's frustrating," Forsberg said. "We played well, but we screwed up at the end. It's hard to lose this way."

Afanasenkov scored off his own rebound early in the third period to tie it 3-3. It was his first goal since Philadelphia claimed him off waivers from Tampa Bay on Dec. 30.

Elias put the Devils ahead for the first time just past the midpoint of the second period. He backhanded his rebound in to make it 3-2.

Thirteen seconds after a roughing penalty on Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher gave New Jersey a two-man advantage, Zajac slipped one in to tie it at 2 in the second period.

Knuble's first goal on the power play gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead early in that frame. The Flyers took a 1-0 lead when Eager redirected a slap shot by Picard past a screened Brodeur. Zajac tied it less than three minutes later.


  • Brodeur started his 22nd straight game. The 34-year-old, two-time Vezina Trophy winner has started 50 of 52 games this season and 93 of 96, dating to last season. He has each of New Jersey's 31 victories this season.
  • Devils RW Brian Gionta played in his 300th NHL game.
  • The rookie Zajac recorded his first two-goal game.
  • Forsberg earned his 603rd career assist on Knuble's first goal to pass Kirk Muller for 68th on the NHL list.
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The Devils' Travis Zajac enjoys his first-period goal on the Flyers, who have lost 12 straight home games.  (AP)
The Devils' Travis Zajac enjoys his first-period goal on the Flyers, who have lost 12 straight home games. (AP)
New Jersey  (31-15-6) «12216
Philadelphia (12-32-7)11305
Three Stars
A. Picard

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 5
T. Zajac

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
M. Knuble

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
02:22Ben Eager (3), Tip-In - Assists: Alexandre Picard, Mike Richards
05:16Travis Zajac (9), Wrist Shot - Assists: Zach Parise, Brad Lukowich
02:19Power Play - Mike Knuble (18), Wrist Shot - Assists: Alexandre Picard, Peter Forsberg
08:17Power Play - Travis Zajac (10), Tip-In - Assists: Scott Gomez, Patrik Elias
11:52Patrik Elias (18), Backhand Shot - Assists: Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta
02:52Dmitry Afanasenkov (4), Wrist Shot - Assists: Todd Fedoruk, Alexandre Picard
11:16Power Play - Mike Knuble (19), Tip-In - Assists: Alexandre Picard, Peter Forsberg
11:56Jamie Langenbrunner (17), Slap Shot - Assist: Paul Martin
15:50Peter Forsberg (10), Backhand Shot - Assists: Mike Knuble, Alexandre Picard
19:28Zach Parise (19), Wrist Shot - Assist: Jamie Langenbrunner
04:10Brad Lukowich (3), Tip-In - Assists: Brian Rafalski, Patrik Elias
Penalty Summary
05:42Eager: Fighting - 5 min.
05:42Hale: Fighting - 5 min.
06:10York: Hooking - 2 min.
07:27Pitkanen: High sticking - 4 min.
18:01Elias: Hooking - 2 min.
01:34Gomez: Hooking - 2 min.
07:43Guenin: Hooking - 2 min.
08:04Hatcher: Roughing - 2 min.
15:18Gionta: High sticking - 2 min.
19:57Fedoruk: Roughing - 2 min.
06:27Eager: Interference - 2 min.
10:12Hale: Interference - 2 min.
17:38Forsberg: Diving - 2 min.
17:38Gomez: Cross Check - 2 min.
New Jersey81213235
Martin Brodeur 63:35315
Antero Niittymaki 64:03296
Game Information
Attendance - 19427
Referees - Tom Kowal, Dennis LaRue
Linesmen - Steve Miller, Brian Murphy
Other Games
Buf 3 Final
Bos 1
TB 4 Final
Car 0
NYI 5 Final
Atl 2
Mon 4 Final
Pitt 5
Wash 3 Final
Fla 6
Nash 2 Final
Pho 3
Min 5 Final
Colo 3
Edm 3 Final
Van 5
Chi 3 Final
LA 2
Dal 4 Final
SJ 2