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Flyers Down Devils

The Philadelphia Flyers are having a hard time holding on to third-period leads. It's no problem coming back and winning.

For the second straight game, the Flyers lost a lead in the final period and rallied to win with a 5-3 decision over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

After John Madden's goal gave the Devils a 3-2 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the game, the Flyers scored three straight times to pull out the game.

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  • Mark Greig put a rebound past Martin Brodeur to tie the game. Dan McGillis then fired a slap shot from just beneath the blue line off a faceoff to regain the lead. John LeClair's slap shot from the left side gave the Flyers a two-goal lead.

    The Flyers also lost a third-period lead on Thursday night against Colorado, only to come back. Colorado evened a 4-0 Flyers lead with four goals in the third period before Valeri Zelepukin's goal in overtime gave Philadelphia the win.

    The Flyers won Saturday night despite the absence of captain Eric Lindros, who missed a second straight game because of a virus.

    "I don't know if we like winning games that way, but it says a lot about the hockey club, about our character and determination," said Greig, who scored at 9:15 of the third period. "I think we'll obviously try to correct giving up the lead."

    The Flyers entered the third period leading 2-1 before the teams erupted for five goals.

    After Petr Sykora tied the game with 13:40 left in the third, John Madden blasted a slap shot from just outside the faceoff circle past Flyers rookie goaltender Brian Boucher.

    Boucher got his first career NHL victory in his second career start after being peppered with shots from all angles by an aggressive Devils offense. It was his first start since a 5-4 overtime loss to Montreal on Oct. 14.

    The Devils were stunned in the third period by the Flyers comeback.

    "We got the lead and then we just weren't smart. We played well, until we got the lead and then we wanted to get more instantly," said Devils center Bobby Holik.

    Vadim Sharifijanov added a goal for the Devils, while Mark Recchi had his team-leading sixth goal for Philadelphia. Coming into the game Recchi was tied for the league lead in scoring with San Jose's Owen Nolan with 18 points.

    Brodeur stopped Valeri Zelepukin on a penalty shot late in the game after the Flyers' left wing was pulled down in front of the goal.

    "Somtimes when you make mistakes, a good team will capitalize on them," Devils coach Robbie Ftorek said.

    New Jersey, coming off a 4-2 win the previous night over Carolina, looked slow early on as the Flyers swarmed the offensive zone.

    But the Devils regained their legs and outshot the Flyers 12-0 the final 12 minutes of the first period, including Sharifijanov's first goal of the year at 15:18.

    The win pulled the Flyers back to the .500 mark for the season and allowed them to tie New Jersey for first place in the Atlantic Division with 14 points.

    Tempers flared at the end of the game after the Devils' Randy McKay was assessed a game misconduct for slashing Flyers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, sending him sprawling to the ice.

    "New Jersey was coming at me really hard all night, but I wouldn't allow myself to get caught up in it," said Boucher, who was serenaded during the first period with chants of "Boo" after making four good saves during a New Jersey power play.

    "Finally I just enjoyed the final 40 seconds and I felt a big burden was off my shoulders."

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