Floundering Flyers bow to New Jersey
Fourth defeat in last five games FROM WIRE SERVICES
The Philadelphia Flyers, desperate for points, say every game they play until the end of the regular season is like a playoff matchup.
Truth be told, they may be the only "playoff" games the Flyers play this year.
The Flyers, appearing disinterested at times, continued their march to nowhere Wednesday night as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.
That left the Flyers (12-15-1) with the most regulation losses in the NHL.
With their fourth defeat in the last five games, the 11th-place Flyers slipped six points behind New Jersey in the Eastern Conference. The Devils, who began the night in seventh place in the East, are 3-0 against the Flyers this season, and they have won the last six meetings between the teams in Newark.
The teams will meet again Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Adam Henrique (three points) scored a pair of goals, and Flyers-killer Patrik Elias had a goal and an assist for New Jersey (13-9-5), giving him 35 goals and 80 points in 79 career games against Philadelphia.
Never mind that the Devils started a struggling backup goalie, 39-year-old Johan Hedberg, who entered the game with an .879 save percentage and 2.97 goals-against average while filling in for the injured Martin Brodeur.
Never mind that the Devils had not won in regulation in their last nine games since Feb. 21.
Never mind that the Flyers, their backs against the proverbial wall, should have played with unbent urgency.
The Flyers, playing without flu-ridden defenseman Luke Schenn, fell into a 3-1 first-period hole despite having a 3-1 edge in power plays in the first 20 minutes.
A turnover by Andrej Meszaros led to Elias' rebound goal just 2 minutes, 2 seconds into the game.
The Flyers tied it on Jake Voracek's power-play goal -- a one-timer from the right circle after a slick feed from Wayne Simmonds -- midway through the first period.
But just 36 seconds later, disaster struck as Henrique's drive from above the right circle deflected off the Flyers' Matt Read and past goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Late in the period, Read failed to keep the puck in the zone at the blue line. Ilya Kovalchuk burst past him and scored on a shorthanded breakaway -- firing a shot high and to the short side -- to put the Devils ahead, 3-1, with 2:42 left in the session.
New Jersey made it 4-1 -- its highest goal total in the last 13 games -- when Andrei Loktionov used a toe drag to get around Braydon Coburn and scored from the slot with 13:28 remaining in the second period. Defenseman Bruno Gervais was caught up ice on the goal.
The Flyers are three points behind the eighth-place Rangers in the East, but they have played three more games than New York.
Canadiens 4, Senators 3: Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller scored shootout goals, and Montreal won its fourth straight.
Eller also scored in the first period and Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban added power-play goals in the second for Montreal (18-5-4), which played loosely in its first home game after a five-game trip. Carey Price made 29 saves.
Mika Zibanejad and Daniel Alfredsson had power-play goals for Ottawa (13-8-6), and Patrick Wiercioch also scored for the Senators, who are 1-2-4 in their last seven.
Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner was sharp in the third period when Montreal had three power plays and stretched its shots advantage to 45-32.
Boucher to Devils: The New Jersey Devils have signed Ontario Hockey League-leading goal scorer Reid Boucher to an entry-level contract.
President and general manager Lou Lamoriello announced the deal for the 2011 fourth-round draft pick Wednesday without giving details.
The 19-year-old Lansing, Mich. native has scored 62 goals for Sarnia, breaking the club record of 58 set by Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, who currently leads the NHL in goals.
Boucher also leads the league in power play goals (21) and is fifth with 94 points. He has 90 goals in 132 games with Sarnia over the past two seasons. He will remain with Sarnia, which has three games left in the regular season before heading to the postseason.
Perry suspended: Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry has been suspended for four games without pay by the NHL for a high, late check on Minnesota's Jason Zucker.
Zucker was leveled by a violent hit from Perry in the second period nearly a full second after he passed the puck in Tuesday's 2-1 win by the Ducks.
Perry received a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct. Perry hit Zucker in the head with his elbow as they collided.