PHILADELPHIA — The Devils wasted leads in two straight periods and were rattled on the road, in danger of a season-opening collapse.
Cory Schneider settled in at the right time in net to send New Jersey out a winner.
Dainus Zubrus scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Michael Cammalleri had two goals, leading the Devils to a 6-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
Michael Ryder, Adam Henrique, and Patrick Elias also scored for the Devils.
Claude Giroux had a goal and Wayne Simmonds scored twice to help Philadelphia rally from a three-goal deficit. Vincent Lecavalier also scored for the Flyers, who lost 2-1 in their season opener Wednesday night against Boston.
The Devils won the first of a four-game road trip, the second-longest stretch to start a season in team history.
Schneider won his first game in goal since taking over full-time for Martin Brodeur and signing a $42 million, seven-year contract in the summer.
"He was good at key times," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "When we needed some saves in the third, I thought he was really good."
Schneider stopped 12 of 13 shots in the third and had 34 saves overall.
He played a career-high 45 games last season and now, as the undisputed No. 1 goaltender, might be expected to push that number to 65 or more. Schneider had a 16-15-12 record last season and posted a 1.97 goals-against average, third best in the NHL.
"My guys bailed me out a couple of times with some big goals," Schneider said. "It just seems like that was the kind of game last year that might have gotten away from us."
The Devils nearly let this one get away, too. They blew 3-0 and 4-3 leads before taking the lead for good on Zubrus' goal early in the third.
Elias had snapped a tie game with a goal early in the third to make it 4-3.
Much like they did in the second period, the Flyers came storming back with the tying goal. Lecavalier, a disappointment last year in his first season with the Flyers, scored off a 2-on-1 break to make it 4-all.
Zubrus, though, wiped out the momentum with the go-ahead goal only 15 seconds later. Moments after the Flyers killed a penalty, Zubrus poked the puck from the right circle off goaltender Steve Mason's stick, and the lead held this time.
"There's a lot of things we want to clean up, but we did a lot of good things, too," DeBoer said. "We still got two points in a tough building."
The Devils seemingly had the game in hand after three straight goals on nine shots against Mason.
Mason, starting his second game in two nights, was caught up in a pair of deflections that gave the Devils the early edge.
Ryder fired one from the circle over Mason's right shoulder for a goal in the first.
The Devils added two more in the second, both on deflections. Henrique's shot went off Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn's skate and Cammalleri scored off a similar bounce for a 3-0 lead just 5:33 into the second.
"With the deflections that are going in, those are tough goals to get past," Mason said.
New Jersey's Jaromir Jagr had an assist on the goal for his 1,756th career point, sixth on the NHL's career scoring list. He also assisted on Cammalleri's empty-netter in the final seconds.
Down by three, the Flyers rallied.
Giroux, still rounding into shape after missing part of the preseason with an unspecified injury, cut it to 3-1 on a slapper.
Simmonds then scored twice in 57 seconds to tie it at 3. His first goal was pretty much kicked into the net. Simmonds stuck his second one just under the buzzer. His tying goal was reviewed — and when the videoboard showed his goal just made it with 0.6 seconds left, the crowd roared.
Simmonds has been on a bit of a hot streak at home, although his last two games were separated by about six months. He scored three goals against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff game.
Mason stopped only 20 shots after posting 31 saves in the opener.
"We have an opportunity to get back into it this weekend," Mason said.
The Flyers are 0-2 for the second straight season. They lost their first games last season en route to a 1-7 start.
"It's always not the start we want," Giroux said. "We have a lot of work to do, we know that."
NOTES: Flyers D Braydon Coburn was a late scratch with a lower body injury. He was on crutches during player introductions. ... The Devils and Flyers don't play each other again until Jan. 3. ... The Devils are 19-8-5 in openers since 1982.
All content copyright ©2014 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.