Flyers, Devils take it outside for ‘Stadium’ matchup

By Thomson Reuters Feb 16, 2024 | 8:27 PM

For 25 years, the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers produced numerous memorable moments within the direct vicinity of the New Jersey Turnpike.

Those games occurred indoors at the Meadowlands Arena, a place where the Devils took the ice for the last time in May 2007.

On Saturday night, the rivals convene for their first outdoor game as part of the “Stadium Series” at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., for a contest featuring teams attempting to improve their standing in the Eastern Conference.

The Devils are playing an outdoor game for the second time in team history. They were the home team on Jan. 26, 2014, in a 7-3 loss to the New York Rangers attended by 50,105 fans at Yankee Stadium.

The Flyers are playing their sixth outdoor game and attempting to win for the second time. Their only outdoor win was an overtime home victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019, and they took a 7-3 loss to the Boston Bruins at Lake Tahoe in their last outdoor appearance in 2021.

“It’s something that you circle on the calendar when you find out you’re going to be involved in one and try your best to treat it like another game,” Philadelphia leading scorer Travis Konecny told reporters.

The Flyers head into the game clinging to third place in the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia and the Carolina Hurricanes both have 65 points but the Flyers own one fewer win and have played three more games.

The Flyers are very streaky of late. Since Dec. 29, they are 10-8-2 in their past 20 games, a stretch that features losing streaks of four and five games and a five-game winning streak.

Philadelphia is on a five-game points streak after taking a 4-3 overtime loss at Toronto on Thursday. The Flyers gave up a natural hat trick to Auston Matthews in the second period but Konecny scored the tying goal late in the third to force overtime and salvage a point.

“They’ve done it all year long, it’s the steadiness of a room,” Philadelphia coach John Tortorella said. “They just keep on playing.”

The Flyers may be without Sean Couturier, who hobbled to the bench after appearing to injure his leg on a slash by Toronto’s Tyler Bertuzzi.

New Jersey’s 58 points are two behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild-card spot in the East. The Devils are 8-9-2 in their past 19 games since winning three straight Dec. 23-29 and lost for the fifth time in eight games when they took a 2-1 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Tyler Toffoli scored a power-play goal in the second period but the Devils gave up a short-handed goal and a power-play tally.

Two of New Jersey’s 21 one-goal games were against the Flyers and were decided in overtime. Luke Hughes scored the game-winner in a 4-3 victory at Philadelphia on Nov. 30 and Owen Tippett scored in the extra period to give the Flyers a 3-2 win in New Jersey on Dec. 19.

“The two games we played against the Flyers went to overtime and both were real hard competitive games,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said.

“I think the hockey we’ve been playing has been hard compete. I felt tonight we didn’t generate a lot offensively, but we’ve been missing out on some good opportunities.”

–Field Level Media