NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Sean Couturier is hoping for a strong finish to his breakout season.
So far, so good.
Couturier had two goals and an assist and the Philadelphia Flyers posted their fourth straight win and extended New Jersey’s slide to a season-high six games with a 5-3 victory over the Devils on Saturday night.
“I just want to keep going the way it was,” said Couturier, who has seven goals in his last four games. “There’s still another half of the year to play, so I had a good first half but need a better second half to make a push and make the playoffs. Just need to keep going and rolling.”
Wayne Simmonds, Travis Konecny and Michael Raffl also scored for the Flyers, who have won five of six overall. Claude Giroux had the primary assist on two power-play goals and Brian Elliott made 26 saves as Philadelphia won in New Jersey for the first time since Feb. 16. 2016.
Couturier is up to 25 goals after his previous career high was 15. He is reaping the benefits on playing on the Flyers’ top line with Giroux and Konecny.
Couturier’s second goal of the night came on the power play and put Philadelphia ahead 3-2 late in the second period.
“He’s good every night,” Konecny said. “You get used to it. It’s been the same for the first half.”
Jesper Bratt, Kyle Palmieri and Drew Stafford scored for the Devils, who are 0-3-3 during their slide. Cory Schneider had 20 saves.
“You can’t skid like this with everybody behind you,” Schneider said of the tight Eastern Conference standings. “Again, we can’t worry or hope or depend on other teams. We have to worry about our team and make sure we get this stopped. Not only that. We want to play well, play the right way.”
With both teams coming off their midseason break, the game was billed as the first matchup between Nico Hischier of the Devils and Nolan Patrick of the Flyers, the top two picks in recent NHL draft.
While Hischier had the primary assist on Bratt’s game-opening goal and Patrick picked up two second-period penalties, including one that led to Palmieri’s goal, it was Couturier and the Flyers’ special teams who stole the show.
“In games like that, the PP helps,” Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. “We took seven penalties, too. We knew we would get some opportunities in the second and we scored some goals on that so it helped us. Sometimes you get lucky and that’s what happens.”
The Flyers, who took the first five penalties, killed off 5 of 7 and scored on their only two extra-man chances.
Konecny put his own breakaway rebound past Schneider in the third, and Raffl iced the game with a backhander on an odd-man rush. Stafford scored in the final minute on a power play.
The Devils took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before the Flyers grabbed control in coach Dave Hakstol’s 100th win with the team.
Simmonds tied it at 2 on Philadelphia’s first power play when Giroux’s shot deflected off his knee past Schneider.
NOTES: Flyers D Shayne Gostisbehere was scratched because of an illness. … Flyers D Radko Gudas played in his 300th game. … Giroux moved past Mark Recchi for eighth place on the Flyers’ career scoring list with 629 points in 11 seasons. … Taylor Hall’s two assists for New Jersey gives him eight points (three goals, five assists) in the last four games.
Flyers: Visit New York Rangers on Tuesday.
Devils: Visit New York Islanders on Tuesday.
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