Patrik Elias' game-tying goal late in the second barely crossed the goal line.
The first period was total dominance for Philadelphia. Martin Brodeur was more than human. So was the Devils' defense.
But in the second, the 3-1 Flyers lead vanished with two goals. The Devils grabbed the all-important first goal of the third and finished the job with an empty netter to cap the 5-3 loss.
The Devils wasted no time scoring in this one as Travis Zajac scored just 40 second in to give the Devils the early lead.
But once the Flyers capitzalized, they made it a habit. First, Wayne Simmonds buried a rebound on the power play to tie the score at 9:27 of the first. Less than two minutes later, Mike Knuble managed to wrist one past Brodeur from the point. 48 seconds after that, Matt Read beat Brodeur as well, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead and forcing the Devils to call a timeout.
The payoff wasn't immediate, but the Devils gained control from that point on. They opened the second with another goal in the first minute, this one just 26 seconds in by new acquisition Alexei Ponikarovsky.
With under five minutes to play in the period, the constant Devils' pressure finally paid off in a goal that was tipped in by Patrik Elias.
The Flyers and Devils traded limited opportunities as solid defense kept the game tied to the midpoint of the third. Finally, a shot from the point by Adam Larsson was deflected by David Clarkson and past Ilya Bryzgalov to give the Devils the lead.
They would add an empty-net goal by Steve Bernier to cap the scoring.
After a dominant first period, several players looked completely lost for the remaining 40 minutes. Claude Giroux is clearly snake-bitten, getting decent scoring chances and just missing the payoff.
Meanwhile, the defense couldn't keep the pressure on for the last two periods. A 3-1 lead should never disappear the way the Flyers let it. These are the games you can't afford to give away. The Flyers gave away a huge game tonight.
Four New Jersey shots beat Ilya Bryzgalov, who wasn't completely sharp, but also not totally at fault. Still, you have to wonder if Brian Boucher will get the start in Montreal tomorrow with the urgency needing to be high.
Penalties came at a rarity in this one, so don't blame special teams. The Flyers scored on their only power play and killed off the only penalty they committed.
And to make matters worse, the Flyers were without defenseman Kimmo Timonen late in the third. He left with a lower-body injury and his status is unknown at this point. But the Flyers can't afford to lose another defenseman, especially a veteran like Timonen.
So the task becomes greater tomorrow night. The Flyers had two points within their grasp and let them get away. Now, the two on the line tomorrow night in Montreal might make that game a must-win.
Kevin Durso is a contributor for Flyerdelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.