Sergei Brylin scores winner in shootout to help Devils edge Flyers 5-4

Brylin scored the only goal in a shootout and Martin Brodeur stopped all three Philadelphia attempts to give the Devils a 5-4 victory over the Flyers in a pre-season game on Thursday night.

With the Devils over the NHL salary cap and the season opener about a week away, Lamoriello is going to have to make some moves to reduce his payroll. Brylin, who has been a member of all three Stanley Cup championship teams in New Jersey and makes US$1.5 million, is among those rumoured to be on the trading block.

“I have been here a long time and been through these things before,” Brylin said. “This is a great place to play hockey. My family loves it here, but I can’t do anything about it. The only thing I can control is my game. Whatever happens is going to happen. I am trying not to think about it.”

Jamie Langenbrunner scored twice and Scott Gomez and Mike Rupp once for New Jersey, which rallied from a 4-1 second-period deficit to force the shootout. Brodeur finished with 26 saves and got the benefit of two goalposts for the Devils (3-3).

Peter Forsberg had three assists and Simon Gagne scored twice for the Flyers. Geoff Sanderson and Mike Knuble also scored.

Robert Esche made 26 saves for Philadelphia (1-5).

Brodeur stopped Sanderson with his blocker on the first shootout attempt. Jeff Carter missed the net on the second and Forsberg got off a weak shot on the third.

Brylin scored on the Devils’ second shot, beating Esche with a backhander.

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“I don’t think I do anything special,” Brylin said of his attempt. “I try to find the opening. I guess the backhander was there today.”

Esche had stopped Gomez on the first attempt.

The loss was the fourth straight for the Flyers and coach Ken Hitchcock was concerned.

“We playing pretty good and then when it seems to be on the line, as it was today, we’re the team making the mistakes. That’s something you have to correct.”

Down 4-1 late in the second period, Langenbrunner started the Devils’ comeback by taking a pass from Travis Zajac and beating Esche.

Gomez narrowed the gap to a goal with a power-play tally 40 seconds into the third period and Rupp tied the game at 4-all, putting in his own rebound with 9:50 to go in regulation.

Forsberg had set up three straight goals after Langenbrunner tied the game at 1-all early in the second period.

With the Flyers enjoying a two-man advantage, Forsberg found Knuble between the circles for a 2-1 lead at 6:25.

Gagne got the other two goals in a 2:37 span. Using Forsberg as a decoy, he beat Brodeur from above the right circle for a 3-1 edge. He then scored from between the circles for his fourth goal of the pre-season.

“You’re not supposed to blow a 4-1 lead, especially here in Jersey,” Gagne said. “We had the game in hand. It’s not acceptable to the guys in the locker room. Our team didn’t do the job. It’s unacceptable.”