Brodeur continues to hex Flyers

Posted: Tuesday, December 03, 2002

PHILADELPHIA(AP) -- Even with first place in the Atlantic Division on the line, the Philadelphia Flyers couldn't find a way to beat Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

Brian Gionta scored at 2:51 of overtime and Brodeur earned his third straight shutout over Philadelphia as the Devils beat the Flyers 1-0 Monday night.

''I don't know the reason,'' said Brodeur, who extended his shutout streak against the Flyers to 207 minutes. ''If it were that easy, I'd do it all the time.''

The Devils moved into first place in the Atlantic Division with 30 points. Philadelphia is second with 29 points, and idle Pittsburgh is third with 28.

Brodeur picked up his 57th career shutout and second of the season -- both against the Flyers.

It was also the fourth straight 1-0 game between the teams, with the Devils, and Brodeur, winning the last three.

''We just get up for these games,'' Brodeur said. ''I think we respect these guys a lot and so we play well. We play tight and we're lucky to have some success somehow.''

Gionta one-timed a shot from the slot past Philadelphia goaltender Roman Cechmanek for the winner.

"(Patrik) Elias threw it at the net and I was just trying to get myself there and get a stick on it,'' said Gionta, who scored for the second straight game.

Brodeur finished with 26 saves, including a game-saving stop on a breakaway by Simon Gagne just seconds before Gionta's winner.

''Simon made a great play,'' Brodeur said. ''He froze me big time. He made a good move and my momentum was bringing me toward where he was going. I think the puck got away from him a little bit and he really couldn't get it up. These are the breaks that we took, and it kind of gave us a little pump and we went the other way and scored.''

The loss overshadowed a strong performance by Cechmanek, who stopped 25 shots.

''As a team, we should be really angry, really angry,'' Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''We had them pushed out in the third period and we didn't squeeze. We played really well. We had a chance to go for the throat and we didn't finish it.''

New Jersey's best scoring opportunity in regulation came on a power play midway through the second period on a shot by Elias. Cechmanek stopped the shot with his stick.

Cechmanek also stopped a slap shot from close range by John Madden with 30 seconds left in the third period.

Philadelphia's Kim Johnsson hit the side of the net with a shot when Brodeur was caught out of position early in the third period. A few minutes later, a shot by Marty Murray bounced off the crossbar.

''We have to take pride in playing against them and beating them,'' Murray said. ''They've come in here twice and beat us. It shouldn't sit well with us at all.''

New Jersey defenseman Colin White received a game misconduct with 25 seconds left in the first period as the third man in in a fight between Philadelphia's Keith Primeau and the Devils' Scott Niedermayer. NOTES: The Devils played the last game of a four-game road trip. ... Gagne returned to Philadelphia's lineup after missing two games with an abdominal injury. ... The Flyers were playing their third game in four days...Philadelphia is winless in its last six home games (0-3-3).

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