NHL: Philadelphia 2, New Jersey 1

March 13, 2004 at 5:57 PM

PHILADELPHIA, March 13 (UPI) -- Marcus Ragnarsson scored the game-winner just 23 seconds into the third period Saturday on a deflection as Philadelphia defeated New Jersey, 2-1.

The victory enabled the Flyers to open an eight-point lead in the NHL"s Atlantic Division.

Ragnarsson flipped a soft shot toward the net but the puck hit David Hale in the slot and deflected past goaltender Martin Brodeur's glove. It was Ragnarsson's sixth goal of the season and second game-winner.

Robert Esche, who has emerged as the Flyers' No. 1 goaltender, recorded 37 saves.

Philadelphia beat the Devils for the second time in a week and has won three straight against its rival.

Simon Gagne gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with his 20th goal 96 seconds into the first period before Scott Gomez tied it for the Devils with 4:30 left in the second.

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