Brodeur ready, will backup tonight

Feels good to go if called upon Saturday in Carolina

Friday, 02.18.2011 / 12:39 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Brodeur ready, will backup tonight
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Martin Brodeur’s knee felt fine after today’s morning skate, and he’ll backup Johan Hedberg for tonight’s meeting with the Rangers.

“You have to warm it up pretty good, just like anything when you come back from injury,” Brodeur said. “But I was able to react and do a lot of the things I’ve been able to do in games. It makes me think I’m OK; I feel good enough to back up. If called upon [in Carolina], I’ll be ready to go.”

This will be the fifth game that Brodeur will miss since injuring his knee at Montreal on Feb. 6. He started the last meeting with the Rangers, and made 25 saves in a 3-2 win.

"They’re fun," he said of matchups against the Devils' rivals. "Through the years, I’ve played so many of them and we had an exciting one not that long ago, too, in the Garden. Definitely, you miss them, but I’ll have good seats for it."

He’s had just one practice with the team plus the morning skate, and is eager for more practice time. Still, he didn’t rule out facing the Hurricanes in Raleigh on Saturday.

“I need to practice, I need to get back in game shape a little bit, seeing the puck, moving around,” he said. “You do that in practices, not by yourself, and I only had one practice and one morning skate. I’m OK to play, but to be on top, I might need a couple more practices. Who knows? Like I said, if called upon, I’m healthy enough to get in there.”

Brodeur is 13-19-2 this season, but a stellar 8-1-1 in his last 10 starts. Healthy once again, he can only bolster the team's hot streak. New Jersey is 13-1-2 in the second half, 7-0-1 since the break.

After a brutal start, they have been playing the kind of hockey that many expected, Brodeur included.

“I thought that’s what we were going to be before the season started, but it didn’t happen,” he said. “We always have confidence with the structure, but I think to the extreme of what we’ve accomplished, it’s pretty amazing, especially for the lack of confidence that we had, the lack of offense and the way we were playing defensively, to really turn it around in every department and get it to this point.”

They have climbed into the postseason chase, and are in hot pursuit of Carolina for the final playoff spot in the East. Entering tonight’s action, the deficit is 12 points.

Depending on the outcome of the Flyers' visit to Carolina tonight, the Devils could narrow the deficit to as little as eight points with wins in these next two games.

“The way we’ve been winning it’s like playoff hockey,” Brodeur said. “Our playoffs are now, for us. It’s now, it’s been [since] a month ago. We can’t afford to lose anything.”

Brodeur gives a lot of credit to Jacques Lemaire, who has gotten his players pulling in the same direction. Just 9-22-2 when he took over, the Devils were ready to listen to Lemaire's message.

“We were in a position where we couldn’t say ‘No, we don’t want to do this,’” Brodeur said. “We were like ‘You tell us, we’ll do it.’ We were in that position that who cares, tell us what to, we’ll run six times over the building. We’ll do it. That’s the position our team was in. We embraced what he was trying to teach.”

Now they’re united by a common goal, the odds notwithstanding.

“When everyone believes in  something together, you can create good things,” Brodeur said. “I think that’s what happened here because of the situation that we were in.”

Notes
Goaltender Mike McKenna was assigned to Albany (AHL).

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51