NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur joked about allowing two goals past his bedtime in New Jersey's double-overtime win over Florida in Game 7.
He can catch up on his sleep after the playoffs.
Brodeur and his teammates have a quick turnaround before they take the ice again for the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Devils visit the Philadelphia Flyers for Game 1 on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center.
"Mentally and physically, we're tired," Brodeur said. "There's no doubt about that. But that's playoff hockey. We played through a lot of adversity in the first round and we pulled it off. We're happy to move on."
The sixth-seeded Devils twice staved off elimination to beat the Panthers and win their first playoff series since 2007. The Devils stayed alive with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 6, and then advanced with a 3-2 win in two overtimes Thursday night.
The weary Devils returned home to New Jersey at 4 a.m. Friday morning, and will practice Saturday before making the trip down I-95 to meet the rival Flyers.
Good thing for Brodeur the first four games are slated to start by 7:30 p.m.
The soon-to-be 40-year-old goaltender gave up a pair of power-play goals in the third period that allowed the Panthers to tie Game 7 and send it to overtime.
"The fact we started at 8:30, usually I'm in bed by 11. That's what happened on those two goals," Brodeur said. "It's tough to play that late. We had to win Game 6 in overtime and then we come to Florida and win in two overtimes."
Regardless of the circumstances, the Devils are thrilled to still be playing. They missed the playoffs last season and were knocked out in the first round three consecutive years from 2008-10, even though they won the Atlantic Division twice in that span.
"To win the first round when you haven't been in the playoffs the year before and have been struggling to get out of the first round, it feels good for a day," Brodeur said. "Then we have to face the Flyers."
Coach Peter DeBoer and his staff quickly turned their attention to Philadelphia, and will implement a game plan at their only practice before the series begins. Even the coach was drained after the Devils outlasted his former team.
"I'm exhausted and I didn't even play," DeBoer said. "It was a fitting end to the series. Obviously I'm glad we won. Both teams battled for 7 1/2 games. Glad to come out on the right side of it."
While the Devils fought hard to get to this point, the Flyers have been relaxing since knocking off Pittsburgh in six games in a high-scoring series. The Flyers will have had a full week off by the time the teams lace up their skates for the series opener.
"We know we have a really tough opponent ahead of us," Devils forward Zach Parise said.
The Devils finished one point behind Philadelphia in the regular season and were 3-3 against them, including a shootout win Nov. 3. Ilya Kovalchuk, who led New Jersey with 37 goals and 83 points in the regular season, had a team-high eight points (two goals, six assists) in the six games against the Flyers.
Kovalchuk had two goals and three assists against Florida. Center Travis Zajac led the Devils with six points in the first series and forward David Clarkson had five assists.
The Devils got major contributions from some inexperienced players in the first round. Rookie Adam Henrique scored two goals in Game 7, including the winner. Stephen Gionta, a 28-year-old career minor-leaguer, had the other goal in Game 7 and two in the series. He entered the playoffs with one goal in 13 career games.
"Somebody has to be the hero," Henrique said. "Why not me?" Henrique said."
The Devils and Flyers are familiar playoff opponents, having met four times during Brodeur's long tenure in New Jersey. The Devils beat Philadelphia in the conference finals in 1995 and 2000 en route to capturing Stanley Cup titles both times. The Flyers won a first-round series against New Jersey in 2004 and 2010.
Brodeur's counterpart in net, Ilya Bryzgalov, didn't fare too well against the Penguins in a wide-open series. Bryzgalov had a 3.89 goals-against average and .871 save percentage. However, he had plenty of success against the Devils this season. Bryzgalov was 3-0 with an 0.29 goals-against average and two shutouts.
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