Gionta broke a tie early in the third period and Martin Brodeur made 25 saves to lead the Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
Late-game heroics have become the norm for the diminutive forward. He scored all the goals as the Devils overcame a three-goal, third-period deficit Thursday night in a 7-6 shootout victory over Toronto.
“It’s just one of those things,” Gionta said. “I just try to get to the net when it counts. We have to create traffic and try to get some tips and rebounds.”
Devils coach Claude Julien has come to admire Gionta’s persistence around the net.
“This guy really gets his nose dirty in the front of the net,” Julien said. “He’s so good at picking up pucks with his stick. They have been timely goals, important goals.”
Gionta put the Devils ahead at 3:33 of the final period. Positioned at the top of the crease, Gionta deflected Rafalski’s shot between the pads of Antero Nittymaki.
Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner also scored for the Devils and Brian Rafalski had three assists.
It was a solid night for Brodeur who rebounded with a strong game after surrendering five second-period goals against the Maple Leafs.
Mike Knuble scored twice for the Flyers.
The teams exchanged power-play goals in the first period.
New Jersey scored first at 9:08 when Parise rifled a shot from the right circle past Nittymaki.
Philadelphia countered at 11:14 as Knuble cut to the net and took a feed from Peter Forsberg to beat Brodeur. The power-play tally was a rare development for the Flyers who were 3-for-32 with the man advantage through the first four games.
Both teams added a goal in the second period.
Knuble scored again to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead at 1:23 as he knocked in Goeff Sanderson’s pass through the crease.
Langenbrunner pulled the Devils even with their second power-play score with 1:41 remaining in the period. Langenbrunner, in the high slot, deflected Rafalski’s point shot.
The Devils controlled the final period, outshooting the Flyers 11-7.
“We were on the right track, doing everything right,” Knuble said. “Why we fell off, I don’t know. I don’t think we figured we had the game in the bag. They started coming on a bit and we had trouble getting the puck out of our own end. It became hard to play.”
Notes: The morning skate for both teams at Continental Airlines Arena was cancelled due to a water-main break on Route 120, the highway that runs past the arena. The break, which occurred Friday afternoon, was repaired by 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday. … Nittymaki made his fourth straight start for the Flyers; Brodeur has started all four games for the Devils. … Philadelphia kicked off a four-game road trip which continues with games against Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Florida. … Devils defenceman David Hale remains sidelined with an eye injury suffered in practice on Sept. 29. … Devils captain Patrik Elias played in his 600th game.