PHILADELPHIA – Mike Richards scored a shootout goal in the fourth round, lifting the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night in the first pre-season game for both teams.
Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux and New Jersey’s Jason Arnott each scored in the third round of the tiebreaker to force an added round.
Adam Mair, Dainius Zubrus and Jamie Lagenbrunner scored in regulation for the Devils, erasing New Jersey’s two-goal deficit and putting the defending Eastern Conference champion Flyers behind entering the third period.
Danny Briere tied it 3-3 at 13:54 when he beat Johan Hedberg to the glove side for an unassisted goal. Darroll Powe and Jeff Carter scored in the first period for the No. 7 Flyers, who eliminated the second-seeded Devils in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
“We were slow in the first half,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “We reacted slowly. I thought the third period changed that, and the overtime.”
Michael Leighton stopped 20 of 23 shots for the Flyers, and Sergei Bobrovsky—who is competing to be Leighton’s backup—turned aside all seven shots he faced in the third period and overtime.
Johan Hedberg made 11 saves on 13 shots for New Jersey, but Mike McKenna allowed the tying goal in the third period.
“The first two periods were tough to get the competitive edge, get our nose into the battle,” Briere said. “Once we did, I thought we took control of the game.”
The intensity seemed high for a pre-season game, with several players involved in fights. New Jersey’s Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Philadelphia’s Matt Walker mixed it up in the first, and Letourneau-Leblond and Jody Shelly fought in the third.
“It’s fun for guys to come in and show what they can do, to come in and play some Flyers hockey,” Briere said. “And the fact that we’re playing New Jersey, just down the highway from us … there’s a big rivalry with what happened last year in the playoffs.
“It was good to put a little bit of entertainment out there on the ice.”