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Brodeur to face Jets on Saturday

Kovalchuk (lower body) status uncertain

Friday, 11.4.2011 / 4:15 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Brodeur to face Jets on Saturday
Brodeur back in net vs. Winnipeg. (Getty/NHL Images)
Martin Brodeur will get the start Saturday when the Winnipeg Jets visit Prudential Center.

Hearing that he's facing the Jets was a bit like stepping back in time.

“It is weird,” Brodeur said. “It’s been a long time. It’ll be more weird when we play over there.”

It will mark Brodeur’s first appearance against a team from Winnipeg since Dec. 29, 1995, when the Devils suffered a 5-3 setback at the old Winnipeg Arena, but got two goals and an assist from Petr Sykora.

In Winnipeg's last trip to New Jersey – Oct. 12, 1995 – Brodeur made 29 saves for a 4-1 win.

Brodeur was 3-1-0 with a 2.26 goals-against average and one shutout against the original Jets, who moved to Phoenix in 1996. He’s had plenty of success versus the current Jets, who relocated this past summer after 11 seasons in Atlanta: 22-8-8 with a 2.16 goals-against average and seven shutouts.

He's looking to keep the Devils on a roll after Thursday’s thriller in Philadelphia.

New Jersey came back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to win, 4-3, in a shootout. Johan Hedberg made 20 saves and the Devils improved to 5-5-1 with their third shootout win of the season.

“I think it’s a big win, especially the way we did it, coming back twice,” Brodeur said. “One from two goals, one from one goal late, and pulling it off in the shootout. We’ve got five wins and three in the shootout. That’s good; it means we’re in tight games and have been successful in those.”

Brodeur will be looking to improve on his first start back from injury. He returned Wednesday after missing six games with a bruised right shoulder and allowed five goals on 23 shots.

He was one of six players that took part in light skate on Friday.

“You can’t be happy about the way I played the game,” he said. “I felt better as the game went on, but the damage was done earlier with the way I performed. Just have to play better. It might take a little longer, I don’t know. I just want to work hard, try to make an impact and give my team a chance to win.”

Ilya Kovalchuk’s (lower body) status for Saturday is uncertain. He left late in the third period of Thursday’s game and was unavailable for the overtime and shootout.

"We're going to evaluate him today and get a report tonight,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “Probably be more of, we'll see how he feels tomorrow morning."

The best part of the Philly win for DeBoer was the way his club responded to snap a three-game skid. They outshot the Flyers 21-9 in the second period alone. Now he wants to see that effort more consistently.

“I think that this is a group that recognizes when we haven’t played the right way, and the response through the first 11 games to those moments has been very good,” he said. “L.A. was a response game, this was a response game. What we have to do is, that has to be the nightly bar, not the response.”

He also isn't fazed by four shootouts in 11 contests.

“We’re in tight games right now,” he said. “We knew that was going to be the case. Two of your top three centermen go down, we knew we were going to have win games 2-1, 3-2. There were going to be a lot of one-goal games and we’re finding a way to win – that’s a good thing.”

• Andy Greene (lower body) did not play Thursday, but will decide on Saturday’s game after taking part in the morning skate.

“I’m not able to play the way I need to play and want to play,” Greene said. “I’m trying to just get it taken care of now before it drags on for a while.”