The Devils may be writing the Philadelphia Flyers out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Ilya Kovalchuk notched the team’s league-leading eighth short-handed goal and Adam Henrique scored twice as the Devils made it three in a row over the Flyers this season with a 5-2 victory Wednesday night at Prudential Center.

That opened a six-point gap between the two clubs, but without completing a sweep of the home-and-home series by taking Friday night’s game at Wells Fargo Center, the Devils will feel as if they wasted an opportunity to bury a rival.

They are looking for the killer instinct.

"Absolutely. It’s great to win the game but I don’t think we’re a team that has a mind-set that we’re happy to split with anybody," coach Pete DeBoer said. "We know it’s not going to be easy. There is going to be some pushback from them. It’s a tough building to go into. But I also think we can play better than we did tonight."

DeBoer knows the Flyers, whom the Devils defeated in the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring, are on the ropes. He pointed to goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s proclamation on Tuesday: "If you lose both games, you’re done. That’s it. If you check the standings, they’re four points ahead of us. And they have a game in hand. You win both games, you’re tied with them and have a good chance to battle for the playoffs."

A Flyers sweep is now possible. The Devils are in position to hurt them badly.

"Just read their quotes and look at where they are in the standings and you realize how little time is left in the season," DeBoer said. "We knew we were going to get their ‘A’ game and we knew we had no choice but to show up and match that. I thought we did a good job.

"We had another good start to the game. We found a way to get the first goal."