NEWARK, N.J. - For more than two decades, the Flyers labored in vain to establish a winning record against the Devils at the Meadowlands.

Flyers coach John Stevens is hoping that the relocation to Newark might bring a better fate for his team.

That may yet be the case. Nevertheless, last night's first meeting with the Devils at the Prudential Center was another in a long list of Jersey trips worth forgetting as the Flyers lost, 4-1.

The loss finished off a disappointing 3-5 road trip against formidable Eastern Conference opponents and completed a 15-game stretch in which the Flyers played 11 games on the road and came away with a 9-6 record.

"They got beat soundly the other night against Pittsburgh, and we knew they'd come out flying," Stevens said of the Devils. "They were quicker to the puck, stronger around our net. . . .

"Ideally, you want to come out of any trip .500 or better. There were some games on this trip we didn't play well. I thought games we won we deserved to win and games we lost we deserved to lose."

The Flyers were without Simon Gagne (concussion) and Sami Kapanen (sprained right knee) in this one, but the Devils have been playing all season without the injured Colin White, Jamie Langenbrunner and Cam Janssen.

The length of the trip, which included three back-to-back games, may have contributed to the Flyers' coming out flat against the Devils. They looked gassed by the end of the first period.

"Maybe even before then," center Danny Briere said. "It didn't seem like we had a lot of jump right from the get-go. It was tough to get into the game."

This contest was so ghastly, the Flyers appeared simply lifeless in the third period. They wound up being outshot, 39-14.

"The legs were a little heavy, but it's something you have to work through," offered Mike Richards, who picked up another point with an assist, tying Briere for the club points lead with 16. "Hopefully, at home we'll get some energy from the crowd on Saturday" when the Penguins visit the Wachovia Center.

Some things never seem to change with the Devils. They played to a half-empty building at the Meadowlands for 24 seasons. Even with a spanking-new arena, there were still plenty of vacant seats for home game No. 5.

Mike Knuble went into the record book as the first Flyer to score at the Devils' new den with a power-play goal at 12 minutes, 20 seconds. He merely lifted a skate to redirect Richards' slapshot above the right circle for a 1-0 lead.

Former Flyer Dainius Zubrus went into the game without a goal this season and left with two in one period as the Devils stormed back for three straight goals.

Two unfortunate breaks saw the Devils score goals just 18 seconds apart. R.J. Umberger blocked a point shot by Karel Rachunek, but Flyers goalie Martin Biron did not see where the puck went. Brian Gionta did. His shot from the right slot tied it at 14:28.

Zubrus gave New Jersey the lead at 14:46. Biron made a glove stab on Jay Pandolfo's shot from the high slot, but he did not catch the puck cleanly. It fell at Zubrus' feet for an easy tap-in.

It got worse for the Flyers. On a rush up ice, Zubrus cut from right to left and fired a high shot that deflected off Biron's left shoulder into the net, making it 3-1 with 30 seconds left in the first.

As bad as that goal was, Biron gave up a simply brutal one to Rod Pelley 2:48 into the second period. Sweeping a loose puck off the right boards, Pelley put a seemingly harmless backhander on net at the post. The puck found a sliver of a hole between Biron's pads for Pelley's first NHL goal.

That was it for Biron as Antero Niittymaki replaced him. It marked the second time as a Flyer that Biron had been pulled. (It also happened March 31 against the New York Rangers.)

"I felt pretty good," Biron said. "It seemed like I wasn't going the right way when I was touching the puck. It just wasn't there."

Briere tried to put perspective on the trip.

"We've done a lot of good things and set ourselves up nicely," he said. "The first 15 games, 11 on the road, this isn't a bad record at all. But right now, it's a little tough to look at it that way just because of the way game No. 15 was played."