Well, I'm sure the suicide watch is off for a lot of happy New Jerseyans tonight, and somewhere in Western Canada, the Pelley family appreciates the gesture of the greatest American hockey play-by-play voice of a generation.
The Devils have gotten points in 4 of their last 5 games now, since the opening rock loss to the Senators. They beat the Flyers in front of a tad under 15,000 in downtown Brick City. It was a game filled with sticks going all over the place, cross checks to the throat, hits from behind, and some of all 3 three of those actions going un-penalized.
After a first-period power-play goal from Philly's Mike Richards, the Devils got their act in gear after blonking on a double-minor power play. When Karel Rachunek had a shot dubbed, it careemed right to Brian Gionta, and with Marty Biron oblivious to the puck's location, Gionta practically had a 4 x 6 to shoot at, and he made no mistake.
Off the ensuing faceoff, the Devils kept the heat on. A long-ranger from Paul Martin? Stopped by Biron. A rebound from Jay Pandolfo? Same result. Dainius Zubrus' 3rd chance? BINGO! ZUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUBI gets his first goal as a Devil to make it a 2-1 NJ lead. Good for Zubrus, I hope he keeps it up.
And whadda' ya know, he did! 5 minutes later, he crossed the deep slot and ripped a shot off the paraphernelia of Biron and into the white paint behind the red line. Two for ZUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUBRUS and it was 3-1 Devils after period #1. A shocker.
Early 2nd period. A broken play in the neutral zone sees Sergei Brylin handing off the puck to a surging Rod Pelley. The rookie raced into the Philly zone and ripped a backhander between the legs of Biron for his first National Hockey League goal to make it 4-1. Doc Emrick noted that Pelley's family was likely watching, and stayed silent while PA Announcer Kevin Clark announced it as Pelley from Brylin at 2:48 of Period 2. That was also it for Biron, as he was ably replaced by Antero Nittymaki, who was solid in replacement.
The game stayed pretty stoic to the end. 2 fights occured, an even brawl between Riley Cote and Aaron Asham, and another draw from Sheldon Brookbank and Ben Eager. The Devils are now at 14 points, 1 point behind Pittsburgh for 4th place in the Atlantic, and up to a tie for 10th with Florida in the Eastern Conference. They take on the division rival Islanders at the Mausoleum on Saturday.