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Devils need Brylin's two goals to edge Predators

3/22/2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Jamie Langenbrunner and Joe Nieuwendyk
didn't take long to make a mark with the New Jersey Devils.

The players scored their first goals with their new team as New
Jersey held off the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Thursday night.

"The line of Nieuwendyk, Stephane Richer and Langenbrunner had
two very important goals for us, but they gave one back at the
end," New Jersey coach Kevin Constantine said. "They have been
plus both nights. That is very, very good."

Nieuwendyk and Langenbrunner, traded from Dallas on Tuesday,
also added assists.

Constantine praised the trade in general, but emphasized the
addition of Nieuwendyk.

"We are better on faceoffs with Joe than we were before the
trade," Constantine said. "That is one thing that is instantly
noticeable.

"I don't want to minimize his abilities by saying that he just
does that. He has a track record of doing a lot of good things. We
can use him as a penalty killer and he has always been good on the
power play in front of the net. He helps make us a better team."

Bobby Holik said the Devils quickly welcomed Nieuwendyk and
Langenbrunner into the fold.

"The team has done a tremendous job in accepting them, bringing
them in and making them feel comfortable," Holik said. "It shows
on the ice. They can play in the right situations."

Nashville scored three third-period goals, including two by Greg
Johnson, but the Predators continued their season-long losing
streak with their sixth straight loss.

"That's just hockey," said Constantine. "With a little
momentum shift and couple of goals, all of a sudden the crowd gets
into it. Nashville did a good job. They are pretty quick team. They
can get on you in a hurry."

The Predators are winless in their last seven games while New
Jersey has won five of six.

Sergei Brylin scored a power-play goal at 9:32 of the first
period to give the Devils a lead they would never relinquish.

Langenbrunner scored at 18:41 for a 2-0 lead and Nieuwendyk made
it 3-0 with a goal 26 seconds into the third period.

Nashville broke the shutout at 6:33 of the third when Kimmo
Timonen scored on the power play.

Johnson trimmed the lead to 3-2 at 11:53.

Brylin gave the Devils a two-goal edge again when he was left
all alone in the low slot and put a shot over Dunham's right
shoulder at 13:34.

Johnson pulled the Predators within 4-3 with his second goal of
the period at 14:58.

"We just wanted to simplify everything and get some momentum
going in the third period," Johnson said. "We wanted to get the
puck in their end, get a forecheck going and play our system.

"We have been playing well in spurts. But we are not doing what
it takes to get over that hump."

The Predators, in response to the death of Brittanie Cecil in
Columbus, Ohio increased the frequency of scoreboard warnings to
the crowd about puck speed whenever a puck went into the stands.

Game notes
Johnson has equaled his career-high for goals and takes
over the lead for the Predators with 18. He also had 18 during the
1995-96 season for Detroit. ... Nashville's Vladimir Orszagh ended
a three-game goal scoring streak. ... The Predators have given up
five goals in four of their last six games and in six of their last
12.