New Jersey at Philadelphia

Defenseman Oduya stars as Devils capitalize on PP vs. Flyers


PHILADELPHIA -- All the New Jersey Devils needed to get their slumping power play going was a low-scoring defenseman.

Johnny Oduya had a goal and three assists and the Devils scored five times on the power play in a 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

The Devils beat Philadelphia for the fifth straight time this season to move into first place in the Atlantic Division.

"It's nice to score," said Oduya, who recorded multiple points for the first time in 117 career games. "I don't get that many points. But I'm more happy for the win in a big game."

Patrik Elias and Zach Parise each had a pair of goals, and Jamie Langenbrunner and Dainius Zubrus also scored for New Jersey.

The Devils equaled the team record for power-play goals and fell one short of the franchise mark. New Jersey had five power-play goals two other times in club history. The club was known as the Colorado Rockies when they scored six power-play goals in an 8-6 win over the Flyers on Feb. 19, 1980.

"We put pucks on net, we directed pucks toward the net, and we had guys around the net," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "We moved the puck well, we got some rebounds, we got some screen shots and we made the most of our opportunities. We created chances by going to the net and we scored some goals in areas we need to score some goals in."

Daniel Briere, Mike Knuble and Jeff Carter had Philadelphia's goals.

The Flyers hadn't lost in regulation in their previous eight games and were 10-1-2 in the last 13. But they hardly looked like a team playing for first place.

"We had a total letdown," coach John Stevens said.

Philadelphia mostly outplayed New Jersey at even strength. The problem was stopping the Devils' suddenly potent power play. New Jersey came in 28th in the NHL with a conversion rate of 14 percent, and was 0-for-15 over the last four games.

With Oduya playing like Wayne Gretzky in his prime, the Devils capitalized on almost every opportunity on the man advantage.

Oduya came in with nine points in 40 games this season. He scored New Jersey's first goal to tie it at 1 and assisted on three of the next four.

"It seems like always we have been struggling on the power play," Oduya said. "I think we played pretty good at times but tonight we got the bounces early on there to get some goals."

Zubrus scored from the slot to give the Devils a 3-2 lead late in the first period. Elias made it 4-2 midway through the second. Oduya set that one up with a perfect, one-handed centering pass.

Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki was pulled for Martin Biron after Parise made it 5-2 with 5:27 left in the second. Niittymaki, who was 6-0-1 in his last seven starts, allowed five goals on 19 shots.

Carter scored with eight seconds remaining in the second period to get the Flyers within 5-3. But Elias and Parise scored less than a minute apart early in the third period to put the game out of reach.

A feisty first period featured two fights and another scrap involving a few players. Flyers rookie Steve Downie excited the sellout crowd when he bloodied David Clarkson's left eye in the second fight in a three-minute span.

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur looked shaky early, but finished with 24 saves.

"It's kind of like a wake-up call, lets us know we have a long way to go if we want to beat that team," Flyers forward Sami Kapanen said.


  • The Flyers beat New Jersey 4-0 in Philadelphia in the teams' first meeting in October.
  • Elias' goal gave him 600 career points.
  • The seven goals were the most scored by the Devils and most allowed by the Flyers this season.
  • Oduya was the 221st pick by Washington in the 2001 NHL entry draft. He signed with the Devils as a free agent after playing five seasons in Sweden.
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Johnny Oduya surprises his teammates with a goal and three assists to lead the Devils.  (Getty Images)
Johnny Oduya surprises his teammates with a goal and three assists to lead the Devils. (Getty Images)
New Jersey  (28-17-3) «3227
Philadelphia (26-16-5)2103
Three Stars
J. Oduya

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 3
P. Elias

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
M. Richards

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2

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Scoring Summary
02:53Power Play - Daniel Briere (20), Wrist Shot. Assist: Mike Richards, Mike Knuble
06:10Power Play - Johnny Oduya (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Paul Martin, Travis Zajac
07:45Mike Knuble (15), Slap Shot. Assist: Scottie Upshall, Braydon Coburn
14:19Power Play - Jamie Langenbrunner (7), Tip-In. Assist: Paul Martin, Johnny Oduya
17:44Power Play - Dainius Zubrus (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta
10:01Power Play - Patrik Elias (11), Slap Shot. Assist: Johnny Oduya
14:33Power Play - Zach Parise (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Travis Zajac, Johnny Oduya
19:52Power Play - Jeff Carter (18), Slap Shot. Assist: Randy Jones, Mike Richards
32.0Zach Parise (18), Wrist Shot. Assist: Travis Zajac, Jamie Langenbrunner
01:29Patrik Elias (12), Slap Shot. Assist: David Clarkson, Karel Rachunek
Penalty Summary
02:48Rupp, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
04:48Carter, 2 min, Interference
12:28Upshall, 2 min, Holding
14:37Rupp, 5 min, Fighting
14:37Cote, 5 min, Fighting
16:25Downie, 5 min, Fighting
16:25Clarkson, 5 min, Fighting
17:12Briere, 2 min, Interference
18:10Vishnevski, 2 min, Cross-Checking
18:53Rachunek, 2 min, Roughing
18:53Rachunek, 2 min, Elbowing
18:53Knuble, 2 min, Roughing
02:46Oduya, 2 min, Tripping
09:09Upshall, 2 min, Slashing
10:59Dowd, 2 min, Slashing
14:08Smith, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
14:59Gagne, 2 min, Roughing
18:05Vishnevski, 2 min, High-Sticking
11:34Zubrus, 2 min, Roughing
11:34Clarkson, 2 min, Elbowing
11:34Downie, 2 min, Roughing
14:31Pelley, 2 min, Roughing
14:31Knuble, 2 min, Roughing
14:31Vandermeer, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
New Jersey9161136
Martin Brodeur60:00243
Martin Biron25:27142
Antero Niittymaki34:33155
Game Information
Attendance - 19677
Referees - Eric Furlatt, Dan O'Rourke
Linesmen - David Brisebois, Pat Dapuzzo
Other Games
Min 1 Final
Cal 2
Chi 2 Final
SJ 3
Ott 3 Final
Fla 5
Bos 2 Final
Mon 8
Atl 0 Final
Colu 4 Final
Dal 2
Nash 4 Final
Colo 0
Det 3 Final
LA 0
Edm 3 Final
TB 4
NYI 6 Final
Car 3