It may not be as entertaining as the six-game shootout with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In fact, compared to that wild series, the Flyers-Devils conference semifinal, which starts Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center, might seem almost boring.

But not to the players.

"It's going to be fun to play these guys," winger Scott Hartnell said after Friday's practice in Voorhees. "It's easy to hate Pittsburgh, but the Devils are right there."

The sixth-seeded Devils had five players with 20-plus goals this season, but they primarily win because of their defense and their ageless goaltender, Marty Brodeur, who isn't as dominating but is still effective after all these years.

In other words, it would be downright shocking if the fifth-seeded Flyers averaged close to five goals a game, as they did in sending the Stanley Cup favorite Penguins to an early exit.

"They might not be as flashy as the Penguins," Max Talbot said of the Devils, "but they are dangerous all through the lineup."

New Jersey, which had 102 points (one less than the Flyers) in the regular season, plays a tight-checking style, one that thrives on capitalizing on opponents' turnovers.

"They wait for you to make mistakes," winger Wayne Simmonds said.

To beat the Devils, "you have to be very patient," said forward Danny Briere, mindful that each team won three games in the season series. "They're a team that likes to slow the game down. They don't take many chances. They play very tight defensively. And they like to frustrate teams, so for us, one of the keys is not getting frustrated, waiting patiently for our chances to come."

The Devils advanced with a 3-2, double-overtime win at third-seeded Florida, a Game 7 thriller that ended early Friday morning. New Jersey averaged 2.6 goals per game in the series but won because Brodeur had a 2.06 goals-against average.

The about-to-turn-40 Brodeur was good against the Flyers in the regular season - he had a 2.26 goals-against average and .905 save percentage - but his counterpart, Ilya Bryzgalov, was out of this universe. Bryzgalov was 3-0 with a 0.29 goals-against average and .987 save percentage against the Devils.

In the quarterfinals against the Penguins, Bryzgalov had a 3.89 goals-against average and .871 save percentage.

Claude Giroux, who leads the NHL with 14 playoff points, doesn't think the series against the Devils "will be even close to what it was against Pittsburgh" in terms of offense.

The Flyers want to remain in attack mode, he said, "but I think defensively we can do a better job in front of Bryz. Bryz did a good job making the key saves and keeping us in the games, and we'll have to do the same."

The Flyers got goals from 13 players as they eliminated the Penguins, four games to two.

"The best part about our team is we've got four lines that can play offense, roll over and hit their D," Hartnell said. "It's funny that all the goals that seem to come back to haunt a team are off turnovers, so managing the puck - getting it in, getting it out - is going to be big"

When they take the ice on Sunday, the Flyers will have gone a week between games. Will the layoff hurt?

"I guess there are arguments for both sides," Briere said. "Some people would say it's better to keep playing, to stay in the groove. The rest - and it was a physical series we had against Pittsburgh - was crucial for us. I know what you're all saying about keeping the flow going and going right back at it, but I really believe the rest was more crucial than having a chance to keep going."

Briere is excited about playing in the conference semifinals and the team's chances, but he's trying not to get too revved up.

"As you get older, you know more about what it's like in the playoffs," he said. "You spend less time thinking about what might happen and just get ready for whatever comes. . . . Sometimes that's easier said than done."