Originally created 05/23/00

Flyers, Devils head back to Jersey



PHILADELPHIA -- The New Jersey Devils were not ready to make an exit out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Now the Eastern Conference finals are moving back up the New Jersey Turnpike for Game 6 as Jason Arnott, Bobby Holik, Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias scored for the Devils in a 4-1 victory Monday night over the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers still lead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series that continues Wednesday night at Continental Airlines Arena. Game 7, if necessary, would be Friday in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, which won three straight after dropping the series opener, might have star center Eric Lindros back by then. Lindros, who has had two concussions in the past three months, was cleared by his doctor Monday to resume full team practices.

Thirteen teams have rallied from 3-1 deficits to win a series, but never in a conference final. That does not include two teams which came back from 3-0 to win. The Flyers are 14-1 in series in which they have taken a 3-1 lead.

The road team has won each game in this series except for Game 2 when the Flyers got even. Philadelphia, 6-1 in road playoff games this season, is only 5-4 at the First Union Center.

It was only the second time in franchise history that the Devils avoided elimination on the road. New Jersey won Game 7 of the division finals at Washington in 1988.

Martin Brodeur, who was not sharp in the previous two losses, looked much better and made 20 saves for his 10th playoff victory this season. The Flyers had 21 shots for the third straight game, matching their playoff low.

New Jersey center Sergei Nemchinov left with 3:02 gone in the second period after he was bloodied by a check from John LeClair. Nemchinov took 40 stitches to the left side of his head after striking the glass near the penalty box and then was rammed into a metal partition holding it in place.

The Devils responded to the screaming done by coach Larry Robinson following their 3-1 loss at home in Game 4 when they allowed two goals in the third period.

New Jersey came out fast and hard and grabbed a 1-0 lead when Arnott scored his fourth playoff goal 10:25 in, with two seconds remaining on a power play. Holik made it 2-0 just 4:50 later.

Vladimir Malakhov fired a shot that Flyers goalie Brian Boucher stopped with his pad. The rebound came out to Holik, who put it past Boucher who was sprawled out on the ice.

Holik, who took four shots in the first period, scored his third goal of the playoffs -- all in this series. Prior to scoring in Game 1, Holik went 28 playoff games without a goal dating to 1997.

New Jersey dominated play throughout the period, finishing with a 14-6 shots advantage and didn't waste any time stretching the lead to 3-0 in the second when Sykora scored his sixth goal.

Elias' pass attempt to Sykora was blocked by Flyers defenseman Luke Richardson. Elias got it back and moved it to Sykora, who put a shot behind Boucher at 1:47.

The Flyers got on the board with 4:15 left in the second on Valeri Zelepukin's first goal. The goal was the first the Devils allowed this series in nine short-handed situations. It snapped New Jersey's streak of 32 straight penalty kills dating to the last round against Toronto.

The goal came when Brodeur swung the puck around the boards behind his net. Mark Recchi intercepted and passed out in front to Zelepukin. Brodeur went down, scrambling to get back into position as Zelepukin skated deftly around him and tucked the puck into the lower right corner of the net.

Elias put the game away 54 seconds into the third with his fifth goal. After a giveaway in neutral ice, Elias skated in and beat Boucher between the pads with a backhander. The Flyers rookie goalie stopped 26 saves.

Flyers center Daymond Langkow returned to action after missing the previous two games with a concussion.