PHILADELPHIA — Bryce Salvador, David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk scored goals to lift New Jersey to a 3-1 Game 5 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night, sending the Devils into the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2003.

Martin Brodeur was strong in goal and has the Devils back in position to win their fourth Stanley Cup. The Devils await the winner of the New York Rangers-Washington Capitals series. The Devils rebounded this season under Coach Peter DeBoer after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996 last season.

The sixth-seeded Devils scored twice in the first period and became the first East team to win four straight games in these playoffs.

“It was just sticking with the game plan and doing what it takes to be successful,” DeBoer said. “Marty made some saves when he needed to, and we held on.”

Max Talbot scored for the Flyers, but Philadelphia was eliminated in the conference semifinals for the second straight season. The Flyers finished the season without suspended All-Star forward Claude Giroux because of his illegal check to the head on New Jersey center Dainius Zubrus in Game 4.

The Flyers again failed in the postseason to hold a quick lead after Talbot scored in the first.


COYOTES 2, PREDATORS 1: Mike Smith stopped 32 shots and Phoenix beat visiting Nashville to earn its first trip to the Western Conference finals by winning the series in five games.

The Coyotes, the parent team of the Portland Pirates, will face the Los Angeles Kings, the first No. 8 seed to knock off Nos. 1 and 2 in the same playoffs.


Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler underwent shoulder surgery. The Canucks expect Kesler to be out up to six months, meaning he will likely miss the start of the regular season. … The Chicago Blackhawks fired assistant coach Mike Haviland.