Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Game Plan Paying off for Devils

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Game Plan Paying off for Devils

Article excerpt

NEWARK -- After frustrating and dominating the Philadelphia Flyers for three consecutive victories with their persistent forecheck and turn-the-other-cheek discipline, the Devils need to stick with their winning plan just one more game to send their Atlantic Division rivals home for the summer.

Leading 3-1 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Devils can advance to the conference finals for the first time since they won their last Stanley Cup in 2003 with a win tonight in Game 5 at Wells Fargo Center.

The Devils have the Flyers on the ropes after winning the last three games in impressive fashion. And the Flyers will have to try to avoid elimination tonight without center Claude Giroux, who was suspended for one game by the NHL on Monday for his head-hunting hit on Dainius Zubrus in Game 4 on Sunday.

That's just another reason for the Devils to finish the Flyers off tonight and not give them any hope of making a come back.

"We want to end this, obviously, as soon as we can," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said Monday. "We know they're going to play their best game. I'm confident we're going to bring our best game. They're a dangerous team at any point in a series and the last one is always the toughest to win. I like how we're playing, and we've just got to continue to do what we're doing."

What the Devils have been doing is controlling play with a relentless forecheck that has pinned the Flyers in their end for lengthy stretches and led to numerous turnovers and scoring chances.

The Devils outshout the Flyers, 43-22, in their 4-2 win in Sunday's Game 4 and the goaltending of Philadelphia's Ilya Bryzgalov was the only reason the final score wasn't lopsided.

"We're not spending a lot of time in our zone," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "That makes it tough for them, when it feels like whenever they've got the puck we have a guy right next to him and a couple of guys ready to jump on him and go back the other way."

At the same time, the Devils have demonstrated restraint in skating away from the Flyers' repeated attempts to draw them into after-the-whistle scrums and retaliation penalties.

The Flyers thrived off that in their impressive first-round win over Pittsburgh, but have been unsuccessful in their bids to distract the Devils. …

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