Consider the Flyers' power play back in form.

After wallowing for two months, the power play was 3 for 3 last night at the reverberating Wachovia Center.

Danny Briere contributed on two of the successful power plays, and Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne scored third-period goals as the Flyers defeated the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, and won their third straight.

Carter became the 13th player in the Flyers' history to score 40 goals in a season when he tipped in Kimmo Timonen's shot 55 seconds into the third period, giving his team a 3-2 lead en route to winning the season series from the Devils, 3-1-2.

About two minutes later, Gagne deposited his 30th goal after taking a backhand feed from dynamic rookie Claude Giroux, who was behind the net.

Gagne admitted how satisfying it felt to score his 30th goal after missing most of last season because of a concussion.

"I'm not going to lie. Reaching 30 goals was one of my goals this year," he said.

Marty Biron (32 saves) outplayed future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur (21 saves) as the Flyers moved to within seven points of the first-place Devils - Philadelphia has a game in hand - in the Atlantic Division.

In recording three straight wins, the Flyers' power play, which had struggled for two months, is a sizzling 7 for 13 (53.8 percent).

"We're looking to shoot first and our movement is a lot better than it had been," coach John Stevens said.

Briere's return to good health and the power-play resurgence are not isolated developments.

"He calms us down with his passing and the way he controls the puck," said Carter, who scored his 10th game-winning goal, which ties for the league high.

With 4 minutes, 3 seconds left in the opening period, Briere, standing just to the right of the crease, redirected Timonen's perfect pass past Brodeur. The power-play goal tied the score at 1.

"A great heads-up play by Kimmo," Briere said after his third goal in the last three games. "We needed our power play to get going, and the last couple of games it gave us a few big goals."

Briere was playing in his seventh game since his latest return from a groin injury. He said he was feeling "better and better and more and more confident, especially around the net."

A tic-tac-toe passing play by Briere and Mike Knuble produced another power-play goal - this one by Knuble - as the Flyers took a 2-1 lead with 15:15 left in the middle period.

New Jersey, which has suffered consecutive loses for the first time since Jan. 6-8, answered with a power-play goal of its own. The Devils tied the score midway through the second period after the Flyers were guilty of their league-high 14th too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.

Brian Rolston fired a shot toward the net that deflected off the skate of defenseman Braydon Coburn, who, in an attempt to clear the puck, sent it to Jamie Langenbrunner in the low slot. Langenbrunner knocked in his 25th goal.

The Flyers' three-game winning streak started when Stevens made major line changes.

We have "three very dangerous lines that can score, and a fourth line . . . [with] lots of intensity," Briere said.

"These three games, the way we played defense, that tells you everything right there - that we can beat everybody in this league," said Timonen, who had seven of the Flyers' 26 blocked shots.