NEWARK, NJ - New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer says the key to Thursday's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal with the visiting Flyers is consistency.
The Devils are coming off Tuesday's 4-1 win at the Wells Fargo Center that tied this best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
The Flyers led, 1-0, after two periods, mainly due to the outstanding goaltending of Ilya Bryzgalov, but the Devils persisted and punched in four third-period goals, one an empty-netter.
So DeBoer stressed after Thursday morning's skate at the Prudential Center the need to follow up Tuesday's performance with a similar effort.
"I really believe the playoffs are about learning and what works for you," DeBoer said. "One of the things we learned in the palyoffs is that we haven't been able to follow up a great game like the other night with another."
The Devils have won consecutive games once this postseason, taking Game 6 in the opening round against Florida with a 3-2 overtime win before earning a 3-2 double overtime victory in Game 7.
DeBoer talked about how the Devils have appeared to sit back after putting forth an exemplary game together.
"That is something we have to fix and use the same things that made us successful in Philly," he said. "We have to get on the forecheck, outwork them low in their own end and play in their end on the ice. That's the best defense we could have."
DeBoer said that it will be a game-time decision whether leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk plays. Kovalchuk, who had 37 goals and 46 assists for 83 points, missed his first postseason game on Tuesday with a lower body injury.
Kovalchuk took part in the morning skate after taking a few days off.
"It's Pete's decision. You can ask him," Kovalchuk said. "I am ready."
DeBoer sounded as if he is leaning to using him after being asked if there is something he has to see out of Kovalchuk in order to put him on the ice.
"I think with players, these guys know their bodies better than doctors, coaches, anybody else," DeBoer said. "It's not me seeing something. It's him knowing what we need out of him and whether he feels his body is capable of giving us that. That is where we are at. Players have to make those decisions."