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Blackwood has 30 saves as Devils beat Flyers 4-1

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Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 30 shots as the New Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 Saturday night for their third straight win.

Jesper Bratt, Janne Kuokkanen, Nico Hischier and Yegor Sharangovich all scored for the Devils, who had lost 10 straight games before this recent stretch during a four game series against the Flyers.

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“I felt we had energy in the group during the whole year,” Bratt said. “Everyone comes in every day, trying to get better. We’re at a good mindset at all times. For sure, when you play this way and get a couple wins, it boosts the confidence a lot.”

Brian Elliott had 17 saves for Philadelphia, which has lost 10 of its last 15 games and has been eliminated from the East Division playoff contention. Joel Farabee scored Philadelphia’s only goal in the waning moments of the third period.

“We’re not winning a lot of hockey games,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “When you aren’t winning a lot of hockey games, confidence is a factor.”

Blackwood was able to keep Philadelphia shooting from weird angles, covering up and not allowing any long rebounds against some early Flyers scoring chances. He was helped out by a defense that blocked 19 shots along the way.

“A big reason we were able to gain momentum is that we had a number of shifts where we got trapped inside our own zone, but he covered up those mistakes for us,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “He was outstanding tonight.”

Bratt got the scoring going for New Jersey five minutes into the first period when a snap shot from the right circle deflected in off Elliott’s mask and into the upper corner of the net. It was the 10th straight game the Flyers gave up the first goal and the 24th time in the past 33 games they had fallen behind early.

Kuokkanen scored early in the second period when he one-timed Jack Hughes’ pass over Elliott’s blocker for his seventh goal of the season.

Hischier scored an unassisted short-handed tally five minutes into the third period, picking the puck off Sean Couturier’s stick at the Flyers blue line, racing along the boards before beating Elliott to the stick side for his sixth of the season.

Sharagovich followed late in the third with his 15th goal of the season and fifth against Philadelphia, beating Elliott from right in front.

“I think everyone plays with good confidence,” Bratt said. “We’re all getting into the games now. We’re figuring out a way how to win games. … We really came together the last couple games as a group and creating a winning mentality.”

Farabee fired a snap shot past Blackwood to spoil his attempt at a second shutout this season with 1:16 left to play. But the Flyers- who entered the season as a fashionable pick to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs- have never found the answer to snap a prolonged slump that has haunted them since the end of February.

“We’re making mistakes right now that usually we don’t make,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “A little bit of doubt in our game, and that’s what happens.”

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Devils center Mikhail Maltsev was forced to crawl from the middle of the ice to the bench midway through the second period after taking a slap shot to the inside of his ankle. Maltsev eventually returned later in the second period.

Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere returned to the Flyers’ lineup after missing the last three games with what was called a minor medial collateral ligament strain. Gostisbehere was hurt in Philadelphia’s loss on April 23 at the New York Rangers.

UP NEXT

Devils: Host Boston on Monday night.

Flyers: Host Pittsburgh on Monday night.

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