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Brodeur concerned about Devils letdown

NEWARK, N.J. -- On the eve of his 40th birthday, New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur isn't expecting the Philadelphia Flyers to show up bearing gifts for Game Four.

The Flyers can't afford the gesture at this point in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal. They trail 2-1 heading into today's game (7:30 p.m., NBCSN) at the Prudential Center, and the margin might easily have been 3-0.

That's how well the Devils have played this series. They've slowed Philadelphia's offense with their forecheck while also shutting down a power play that had a big hand in sending Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins home in the previous round.

If Brodeur has a concern, it's about his own team, which won Game Three in overtime Thursday night. The Devils relaxed at times in the opening round against the Florida Panthers and can't afford a repeat of that.

"It's been like that for our team," Brodeur said Saturday. "When you have a little success you let up a little bit. As we have gotten experience in the playoffs, so far, slowly we are putting things together, two games, three games, four games. It's Game Six (vs. Florida) through Game Three. This is a lot of games we're playing some good hockey. We just have to keep going that way."

The Flyers have been good in spurts, but they have struggled against the Devils' forechecking.

Philadelphia center Claude Giroux, the leading scorer in the playoffs entering Saturday's play, has been a non-factor the past two games.

In a bid to shake things up, coach Peter Laviolette changed lines at practice Saturday.

James van Riemsdyk was taken off the left side of Giroux's line and replaced by Scott Hartnell. Van Riemsdyk will replace Hartnell on Danny Briere's line.

"I think it's not a series like Pittsburgh that's more open and there's going to be a lot of goals scored," Giroux said.


Sutter leading the Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings needed a few months to figure out Darryl Sutter.

When Sutter took over in December after coach Terry Murray's firing, his sour facial expressions and infamously low-pitched voice confused the Kings. They couldn't figure out when he was joking, or even what he was saying sometimes.

The Kings have decoded Sutter by now, and the coach has unraveled most of the problems that nearly wrecked their season. Sutter might have done his finest work yet in his fourth NHL coaching stop, putting Los Angeles on the verge of a second-round sweep of powerful St. Louis in Game Four today (3 p.m., Ch. 2).

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