NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Yegor Sharangovich scored twice, Mackenzie Blackwood made 21 saves and the New Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 Thursday night.
Jesper Boqvist, Pavel Zacha and Jesper Bratt also scored as the Devils won their second straight game after an 0-9-1 stretch. Defensemen Damon Severson and Will Butcher each recorded two assists.
Scott Laughton, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny scored for Philadelphia and Alex Lyon made 14 saves, but the Flyers fell for the third time in four games and were officially eliminated from postseason contention.
“Definitely not the way we saw this year going,” Laughton said. “Had very high expectations and just didn’t happen.”
Boqvist helped New Jersey restore a two-goal lead at 9:00 of the second period. The Swedish forward hammered a pass from Nicholas Merkley at the top of the right faceoff circle after a Flyers neutral-zone turnover to lead 3-1.
Zacha extended the Devils lead to 4-2 and provided insurance with a short-side wrist shot at 13:15 of the third period.
Bratt added an empty-net goal late in the third period, snapping an eight-game scoring drought.
“Obviously always want to have those kinds of starts,” Boqvist said. “But I feel like we got down a little bit early in the second but came back and finished strong in the third.”
Couturier pulled the Flyers within one goal with a backdoor tap-in at 12:17 of the middle period. Justin Braun found Couturier all alone near the top of the crease to set up the goal. Jakub Voracek and Couturier each extended their individual point streaks to five games on the play.
“Most of our five-on-five opportunities and chances are coming from Couturier’s line,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We need other guys, as much as they might be working hard, to contribute more.”
Sharangovich opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 8:10 of the first period. The Belarusian forward wired a shot from the right faceoff circle that found an opening between the glove and shoulder of the Flyers goaltender. Will Butcher and Severson assisted on the play.
The Devils increased their lead to 2-0 when Sharangovich scored his second power-play goal of the first period. Severson found the 22-year-old rookie darting toward the back post prior to a nifty deke to his backhand at 15:28. Janne Kuokkanen also assisted on the play.
Sharangovich finished April with 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) to lead the team.
Devils rookies have recorded a total of 106 points this season, leading the Ottawa Senators by a wide margin for best in the NHL.
Laughton trimmed the Flyers’ deficit to one with a short-handed goal at 7:14 of the second period. Philadelphia’s forward blocked a dump-in attempt from Devils defenseman Ty Smith and converted a breakaway with a patient maneuver to his forehand. Laughton snapped a 25-game scoring drought with his eighth of the season
“It would have been nice to pot one when we were fighting there for a playoff spot,” Laughton said. “It’s nice to get one, but it doesn’t really matter.”
Konecny notched his 10th of the season at 18:10 of the third period.
Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, who has not played since April 15 when he sustained an injury during a 2-1 shootout win against the Penguins, will miss the remainder of the 2020-21 NHL regular season.
Flyers and Devils conclude a stretch of four consecutive games against each other Saturday evening in Philadelphia.
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