Clemmensen was scheduled to get his first start of the season even before Brodeur was injured Wednesday in the Devils’ 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
Although an MRI showed no structural damage, Brodeur was scratched with Ari Ahonen serving as Clemmensen’s backup. It was the first time Brodeur was not in uniform since April 16, 1998.
Clemmensen made the most of the opportunity, and his teammates played a solid defensive game for the first two periods, limiting the Sabres to only 11 shots.
“They played great as a team in front of me,” Clemmensen said. “They allowed me to get into the game on my own time.”
Brylin tipped Bryan Rafalski’s shot past Ryan Miller as the Devils salvaged the win after blowing a two-goal lead in the third period. It was his team-leading sixth goal.
“We can’t wait for Marty to come back,” Brylin said. “We’ve got to win some hockey games. Scott played a great game for us and when Marty’s not there, everybody feels they have to pick it up a little bit.”
Scott Gomez and Eric Rasmussen also scored for the Devils, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Rasmussen broke a scoreless deadlock with 3:18 remaining in the second period. Grant Marshall fed the puck to Marshall in the slot and he flipped a shot over Miller’s glove for his first goal of the season.
In the third, Gomez extended New Jersey’s lead to 2-0 at 3:51 with a shot from above the left circle.
The Sabres came storming back with 16 shots in the period and pulled even at 2. Briere started the comeback with a power-play goal at 12:15 on a shot that appeared to deflect off a Devils player. Drury quickly followed to tie it and set the stage for Brylin’s winner.
“We had a lot of momentum in the third,” Drury said. “It was too little, too late and they only needed one to win and they got it. We really didn’t get our feet going until the third period and that just killed us.”
The Sabres left by bus after the game for the short trip to Long Island where they play the Islanders on Saturday night. … Devils D Colin White missed a fifth straight game with a groin injury. … The Sabres are winless (0-9-2) in their last 11 games in New Jersey.