Mercer extends goal streak to 6 games, Devils roll Flyers

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Dawson Mercer scored in his sixth straight, Akira Schmid made 24 saves in posting his first shutout and the New Jersey Devils beat the Flyers 7-0 on Saturday night, handing Philadelphia goaltender Samuel Ersson his first loss.

Jonas Siegenthaler, Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Dougie Hamilton, Jesper Bratt and Nathan Bastian also scored as the Devils improved to 15-3-2 in their last 20 games. The seven-goal winning margin was New Jersey's largest of the season, and the output matched their season high.

Ersson, who was the 12th NHL goaltender to win each of his first six decision, was outstanding making 29 saves as Philadelphia fell to 1-6-1 in its last eight games. Two of the Devils' goals were deflected by Flyers players, another one came when a defenseman was pushed into Ersson and opened the crease and four were on his doorstep by open players.

After a scoreless first period, Siegenthaler gave the Devils the lead on a point shot deflected by a Flyers' player. The defenseman also set up Hughes' breakaway goal — his 36th — later in the second period.

Mercer extended his streak with his eighth goal in the last six games, and 19th overall. The last Devils player to score in six straight games was Adam Henrique in 2014. The franchise record is eight games set by Paul Gardner in 1977-78 when the team played in Colorado before the move to New Jersey.

The Devils added four more goals in the third period.

Flyers veteran forward James van Riemsdyk was banged up and did not play, coach John Tortorella said. It could be a prelude to a trade.

NOTES: The Devils honored their 2003 team on the 20th anniversary of their Stanley Cup championship in a 15-minute ceremony before the opening faceoff. ... Flyers C Elliot Desnoyers, 21, was called up from Lehigh Valley (AHL) and played in his first NHL game. ... Flyers D Nick Seeler won a second-period slugfest with Devils C Michael McLeod. ... Hughes' goal was his first since returning to the lineup on Feb. 18 after missing four games with an upper-body injury.


Flyers: Return home to host the slumping New York Rangers on Wednesday night.

Devils: At Colorado to start a three-game road trip on Wednesday night.


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Tom Canavan, The Associated Press