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Backup goalies expect to start for Devils, Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- A pair of backup goaltenders are expected to take the ice when the New Jersey Devils visit the Philadelphia Flyers in a Saturday afternoon matchup.

Keith Kinkaid (7-3-2, 3.09 GAA, .898 SP) is expected to make his third straight start in place of Devils starter Cory Schneider, who practiced on Friday but is recovering from an illness. New Jersey will go with recent AHL callup Ken Appleby as Kinkaid's backup.

"I just want to pick up where we left off," said Kinkaid, who led the Devils to a 4-3 overtime win over the Capitals Thursday night. "I think we need to keep building on our game and play like the past two efforts."

Flyers backup Michal Neuvirth (4-5-1, 2.35 GAA, .924 SP) was sharp in a 29-save effort Thursday night in a 3-2 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs and is expected to make his second straight ahead of Brian Elliott, who had started 18 of 19 games before getting a rest on Thursday.

"Neuvy stole the show, in my opinion," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.

"He kept us in the game," added Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds.

The Devils (24-12-8) hold a six-point lead over the Flyers in the Metropolitan Division. They followed a six-game losing streak by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Capitals.

"We had some guys who maybe weren't as committed as they needed to be," Hynes told the Bergen Record, referring to the six-game losing streak, which included a 5-3 home loss to the Flyers last week.

"We needed some guys to be more detailed and defend better. To a man the last two games we've done that. Now, we've made some mistakes but it hasn't been from a lack of commitment or from a lack of try, which was something we had to fix and rectify."

The Flyers (21-16-8) have won five of their last six games to climb back into the playoff race after a dreadful 10-gamew losing streak in November.

Devils left winger Taylor Hall, who scored the winner 34 seconds into overtime against Washington, did not practice Friday because of a maintenance day. He's been New Jersey's most productive player lately with five goals and six assists during a six-game point streak.

Sean Couturier, who potted the game-winner 16 seconds into OT against the Maple Leafs, has 11 goals in his past 12 games and has set career highs with 26 goals and 46 points.

Saturday's game will feature the top two players taken in the 2017 NHL draft. Nico Hischier, who centers the Devils' top line with Hall and right winger Jesper Bratt, has eight goals, 28 points and is a plus-1 in his first 44 games.

Flyers rookie center Nolan Patrick, who plays on a third line between wingers Jordan Weal and Simmonds, has three goals, nine points and is a minus-3 in his first 36 games. He netted his first goal in 25 games on Thursday night.

The Devils' penalty kill went 5-for-5 against the Capitals on Thursday and will look to shut down the Flyers, who rank ninth in the NHL.
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