By Harry Allison
It looks like the Flyers will only go as far as their rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere will take them.
The Ghost (above) will try to extend his point streak to 11 games while helping the Flyers get past the New Jersey Devils today at the Wells.
Philly (24-20-9) ended a three-game slide by routing Buffalo 5-1 on Thursday. The Flyers scored four times in the second period, and R.J. Umberger kicked off that binge by ending a 50-game drought that dated back to January 2015.
“It’s huge for us, just everyone pulling on the same side of the rope, just having an explosion like that. Four goals in one period,” Gostisbehere said. “That’s huge for a team like us, especially after laying an egg (in a 4-1 loss to Anaheim on Tuesday).”
The 22-year-old assisted on Wayne Simmonds’ second-period goal to match the team’s longest point streak by a rookie, set by Mikael Renberg in 1993-94. Gostisbehere has two goals and 11 assists during his 10-game run, currently the longest in the NHL.
He has 17 points in 17 home games, but this is the last time the Flyers will be playing at home until Feb. 25. They begin a five-game trip Sunday against the New York Rangers, followed by their season series finale with the Devils on Tuesday.
New Jersey (27-21-7) also ended a three-game skid in its latest game but had a little more tension in a 2-1 victory over Edmonton on Tuesday. The Devils didn’t get the tiebreaking goal until Reid Boucherconverted on a power play with 12:47 remaining.
Adam Henrique also scored on a man advantage, and New Jersey improved to 9 for 23 in its last eight games. The Devils have killed off all 19 penalties in their five contests this month.
“Our special teams were great,” said Cory Schneider, who is 7-3-1 with a 1.64 goals-against average in his last 11 starts. “We needed this one after (a 2-1 loss to the Rangers on Monday). We felt good about our two prior games but didn’t win. To get a win is important. We couldn’t settle for single points here.”
Like the Flyers, New Jersey is just outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Devils have won six of their last seven visits to Philly, including 4-1 on Oct. 29, but have lost a season-worst three in a row on the road while scoring three goals.
They’re averaging a league-worst 1.44 goals on the road since 2016 began, partly offsetting the fact Schneider’s 1.86 GAA away from home this season is tops among goalies with at least 10 road starts.
Simmonds has eight goals and two assists in his last eight contests. He has the Flyers’ only power-play goal in 15 chances over the last three contests, though they’ve killed off 13 of 14 penalties in the last four.