They know their former captain won’t.
With the fewest points in the league, New Jersey (10-28-2) dealt Langenbrunner back to Dallas - where he started his career - for a conditional third-round draft pick. He’s been among the many Devils who have struggled, with 14 points in 31 games after totaling at least 60 in back-to-back seasons.
Langenbrunner won a Stanley Cup in his first full season with the Devils in 2002-03, and he was one of the few remaining links to that most recent championship for a team which appears likely to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
“He was a big part of our success, but this was a decision that was made for the right reasons,” general manager Lou Lamoriello said. “The timing is never right, but we’re going through a situation here that none of us are accustomed to.”
One of the Devils left from that Cup-winning squad is Brodeur, but the future Hall of Famer has served as the backup in two straight games for the first time since January 2004. It’s possible he’ll stay on the bench Saturday, having been pulled in three of his past six starts.
Brodeur has posted a 4.80 goals-against average in his last seven starts - he’s lost six in that span to match the worst losing streak of his career - and is 5-18-1 for the season.
Hedberg again was victimized by bad luck. Philadelphia’s first goal came when Ville Leino’s(notes) dump-in took an odd bounce off the end boards and went to Scott Hartnell(notes), who scored into an open net. Danny Briere(notes) had a pair of third-period goals, one from Leino’s pass off a Devils’ stick and the other off the skate of New Jersey defenseman Colin White(notes).
That happened two nights after the Devils lost 2-1 to Minnesota on a third-period goal off a dump-in that - after Hedberg went behind the net to play the puck - caromed wildly off the side boards and into the cage.
While New Jersey has lost 14 of 16 and is at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia (25-10-5) is one point behind Pittsburgh for the top spot.
The Flyers will be playing at home for the first time since Dec. 20, having won their last two games to cap a stretch of five straight on the road.
Briere had four goals and three assists in that span. He’s scored in five straight against New Jersey, including the last two of the teams’ first-round playoff series last year.
Including four wins in those five games, the Flyers have gone 12-2-1 in the past 15 meetings.
“They’ve been good for so long, beating up on so many teams for so long, it’s kind of nice to give it back to them a little bit,” Briere said.
The Devils have lost seven in a row in Philadelphia - two of those coming in the playoffs.