Hedberg to start, White returns
Rolston targets Friday return
|Hedberg makes his third straight appearance tonight.|
The Devils (4-10-1) are looking to win at home for the first time in seven tries (0-5-1), and Hedberg hopes he can be the difference.
"We all recognize the situation that we're in," Hedberg said after the morning skate. "Our home record, we're the only people that can get us out of this. We're going to have to come up with the big plays and make the plays that are going to get us on a roll. We have to be consistent, we have to be consistently better."
New Jersey has been blanked twice in its last three outings. Those offensive struggles leave the goaltender little room for error.
"I think there's always pressure on the goaltender," Hedberg said. "It's the situation you're in. It doesn't change anything. Every game I put myself on the ice or I'm involved in, I want to win. It's not like I would work harder in a game like this because it means a lot. We all recognize the situation and we still believe we can do it. But we'll have to actually do it, not just believe."
The Sabres chased Hedberg back on Oct. 23, when he allowed four goals on 15 shots in his first start as a Devil. He's counting on being better this time around.
"That wasn't the game I wanted to have," he said. "But at the same time, I can't focus much on what happened before. I have to keep moving, and these next two points are huge."
To back him up, the Devils recalled goaltender Mike McKenna from Albany (AHL) under emergency conditions. Brodeur has not skated with the team since suffering a bruised elbow at Chicago on Nov. 3, but hit the ice with healthy scratch Matt Corrente on the practice rink this morning.
As Brodeur continues to recover, Colin White will be back tonight after missing Friday's game with the flu.
"I felt good (at practice) yesterday," White said. "I was a little fatigued out there yesterday just because I haven't been out for a while. I haven't been eating a ton over the last couple of days. But the last two days have been back to normal, eating-wise, getting proper meals and proper rest. I feel my energy levels were right back up today. I felt really good this morning and I'm excited to get back in."
White adds another veteran presence to a defensive group that, because of injuries, has had to rely on rookies like Corrente, Olivier Magnan, and Matt Taormina. Anton Volchenkov, who missed 12 games after taking a puck in the face, returned Friday. Bryce Salvador (concussion) and Mark Fraser (hand) remain sidelined.
"Hopefully it's a sign of things to come here," said Andy Greene. "Missing two big guys like (White and Volchenkov) that are important parts of this team, it'll be good to have them both in there. We haven't had a full lineup on the back end in a while. Not that we're there yet, but we're getting there."
When asked about the team's fortunes being tied to the health of its core players, Greene said the Devils can't wait for everyone to be back at full strength.
"You never know when that's going to be," he said. "We just have to turn it around somehow and do it. We can't have excuses for why we're not doing it. Injuries have hurt us, but at the same time, everyone's got to step up. It's not just one guy here or there, it's the whole team. We have to play through it and battle through it."
Without Brodeur's stickhandling skills in the lineup, the Devils' defense has to make minor adjustments to Hedberg's game.
"You just have to realize that (Hedberg) might not come out as much as Marty would on rims and soft dump-ins," Greene said. "You just have to be aware of it and not make any wholesale (line) changes."
Rolston likely for Friday vs. Edmonton
Brian Rolston skated with the team this morning, but will miss his 14th game as he continues to recover from sports hernia surgery. He's likely for Friday's meeting with Edmonton that closes out the three-game homestand.
"I don't want to come back and play limited time and not be helping," Rolston said. "That's where you have to be smart. Believe me, I want to be back in the lineup more than anybody. It's been a quick recovery for me, and I've worked hard to get back where I am. I knew I needed one more practice and I'll be in for sure on Friday."
Rolston sustained the injury in the second game of the season and remains eager to contribute.
"We have plenty of horses in here to get the job done, and I just want to come back and help a little bit," he said.
Tedenby to debut tonight
Mattias Tedenby, meanwhile, is set to become the eighth Devil to make an NHL debut this season. He'll skate tonight with Patrik Elias and Jason Arnott.
"Very excited," Tedenby said. "It's going to be very fun. This is what you've dreamed about since you were a kid. Of course, it's going to be fun."
The Devils' first-round pick in 2008, Tedenby has seen fellow Swedish prospects Jacob Josefson and Alexander Urbom debut this season.
"They told me they were a little bit nervous in the warm-ups, but when the puck drops, you don't feel it anymore," he said. "It was awesome for them. I hope it's going to be the same for me."
Helping young players through their first taste of the NHL has become a familiar experience for this year's veterans.
"We're all familiar with it, we've all been there ourselves," Arnott said. "We know that the excitement's there and the nerves are there. We're definitely used to it here."
Tedenby has been with the Arnott line for two days of practice, plus today's morning skate. Arnott said the 20-year-old has plenty of speed and confidence with the puck.
"He's really good handling the puck and he's really fast," said Arnott. "If he use that and just go out there and play his type of game, we'll be better off."
A look at today's lines:
Ilya Kovalchuk Travis Zajac Jamie Langenbrunner
Patrik Elias Jason Arnott Mattias Tedenby
Alexander Vasyunov/Brian Rolston Dainius Zubrus David Clarkson
Rod Pelley Adam Mair Stephen Gionta
Colin White- Henrik Tallinder
Anton Volchenkov-Andy Greene
Matt Taormina-Olivier Magnan