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Physical Flyers take command

Two late goals give Philadelphia a 3-1 win and a 3-1 East lead.

The Philadelphia Flyers have rallied from a two-goal deficit against one of the league's best defensive teams. They've had a rookie goaltender play like a 10-year veteran. And now they have a rare game-winning playoff goal from Craig Berube.

And that's just in this series with the Devils.

Add in the Flyers' two overtime wins during the last series, including one in five overtimes. And having no problem with Dominik Hasek in the opening round. And the way they've overcome adversity this season.

It adds up to this: The Flyers might be this season's team of destiny.

"I guess you could call us opportunistic," Flyers defenseman Chris Therien said after everything fell in place again Saturday night in a 3-1 victory. Brian Boucher stopped 24 shots and Berube scored with 7:02 left in the third period to give Philadelphia a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference final.

The Flyers can wrap up their second trip to the Stanley Cup final in four seasons with one more win. New Jersey visits Philadelphia on Monday night.

Simon Gagne added an insurance goal for the Flyers, who have taken control by winning three straight. Mark Recchi also scored for Philadelphia, which has been finding ways to win close games in this physical series between evenly matched teams.

Bobby Holik scored for New Jersey, now facing another frustrating end to a playoff season after raising hopes it might have a shot at another Stanley Cup.

"I know this club is good enough to go to Philly and win a game and then go on from there," Holik said. "We don't concern ourselves with winning three straight to win the series right now. We have to put together three good periods of hockey, and believe that if we do, we'll win in Philly."

Berube crushed the Devils' hopes in Game

4 with only his third playoff goal in 86 games. Kent Manderville shot the puck around the boards to the right point. Defenseman Dan McGillis sent a fluttering shot toward Martin Brodeur that Berube chopped down with his stick past the goaltender.

"I saw Dan take the shot and got to the front of the net and got a tip on it," said Berube, who netted a winner in 1998 against Buffalo's Hasek while playing for Washington.

Gagne iced the game with 3:20 to go, redirecting a great pass by defenseman Eric Desjardins past Brodeur, who had 18 saves.

Devils coach Larry Robinson was angry with his team's play in the third, when the Flyers held a 9-4 advantage in shots.

"Until our guys get it through their thick skulls that our way is the right way, we're not going to have success," Robinson said. "If the game was that easy, you wouldn't need coaches."

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