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Devils Notebook - Feb. 2

Brodeur probable for Thursday visit to MSG

Wednesday, 02.2.2011 / 5:00 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils Notebook - Feb. 2
The Devils have made the playoffs in 13 straight seasons, and are hoping to defy the odds to make it 14 in a row.

They improved to 7-1-1 in the second half with Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Ottawa, and head to the Garden on Thursday to face the Rangers.

While the Devils are on the outside looking in, the Rangers sit in sixth place with a five-point lead on eighth-seeded Atlanta.

“I think we’re in two different worlds now a little bit as far as, they’re in the middle of getting themselves position in the playoffs,” said Martin Brodeur, who’s likely to start. “We’re totally different; we’re just trying to play well every day.”

The Devils, enjoying their best stretch of the season, have done that. They look to maintain that level of play heading into their fourth meeting with their cross-river rival.

“Players, you feel it when you do battle for something, if it’s the playoffs or a playoff spot or an important game,” Brodeur said. “When that’s not there, we get up maybe a little more because of our fans, because the people care about it. It’s normal. That’s part of sport.”

The Rangers dropped their second in a row with a 4-3 shootout loss to visiting Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Both Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky returned after missing significant time with injuries. Vinny Prospal could make his season debut Thursday after undergoing knee surgery in October.

New York missed the playoffs last season and suffered a seven-year drought from 1997-98 to 2003-04. From a Devils perspective, Brodeur said failing to qualify for the postseason would be difficult for an organization that has played spring hockey every season since 1997.

“You have to draw back on things," he said. "It’s tough not to move forward and be in the playoffs. When April comes and we’re not there, it’s like, ‘Just give us a chance.’ But at the end of the day, there will be one winner, there’ll be 29 [teams] that’s going to scratch their heads and say, ‘How can we be that one?’”

The second-longest active streak to Detroit, the Devils' 13 consecutive postseasons have included the 2000 and 2003 Stanley Cups and the 2001 trip to the Finals.

And it's not over yet. Clearly, they plan on putting up a fight, a perennial contender unaccustomed to giving in when the going gets tough.

“When you look at the other teams and organizations, what they go through year in, year out – we had an unbelievable run,” Brodeur said. “Now we have to reset it and try to get back to what we need to do to be on top of the League again. We’ve made some great strides lately, we just have to continue for the rest of the season and see where that’s going to take us.”

Terreri’s still got it
Brodeur was given a rest day on Wednesday and worked out off ice. Goaltending coach Chris Terreri filled in for him, and made the save of the day with a diving stop on Nick Palmieri that was captured on Terreri’s iPhone by one of the Devils’ equipment staff.

“I didn’t realize how quick he was,” Palmieri said. “He looked good out there. I was talking to him after, and I told him I thought he was going to slide across. He said, ‘No, I’m old school. I dive across.’”

Palmieri is no scoring slouch. He notched his fourth in 11 games on Tuesday night. Terreri, 46, has suited up from time to time when an extra goalie is needed in practice. Maybe the ‘95 Cup champ’s still got it.

“I’m sure I’ll hear a little bit about that from everyone for the next day or so,” Palmieri said. “Hopefully just one day.” 

Devils Notes
Mark Fayne (ill) was back at practice Wednesday. He had not skated with the team this week, and missed Tuesday’s game. … Colin White (lower body) was a surprise addition to Tuesday’s lineup after missing two games, and was back on the ice for practice on Wednesday.