Brodeur to start Saturday against Montreal
|Brodeur gets the call Saturday. (Getty/NHL Images)|
Brodeur was pulled on Thursday after a first period in which he allowed two goals on nine shots. Johan Hedberg entered to start the second period and needed 18 saves and two more in the shootout for a 5-4 win over visiting Ottawa.
Coach Peter DeBoer reiterated after Friday's practice that the change in net was less an indictment of Brodeur's performance than it was wake-up call for the rest of the team.
The Devils responded to the switch with a three-goal third period to take a 4-3 lead after trailing 3-0 in the second. Zach Parise and Dainius Zubrus ignited the rally with their shorthanded tallies.
"He deserves to go back in," DeBoer said. "He had a great game in Toronto [a 3-2 overtime win on Tuesday]. We didn't have a good start as a team, I made a change to try and grab the team's attention. He deserves to go back in there again."
Brodeur, who made 29 saves to beat the Maple Leafs, hopes to rebound as the Devils (14-12-1) seek their third straight win.
"I don't think it's that big of a deal," Brodeur said of being pulled. "Personally, you'd like to play better. I turned the puck over on one, and I had a bad rebound on the second one."
He added that the change paid off.
"It worked," Brodeur said. "We won the game, that's the bottom line."
Going up against his hometown team may be just the setting for Brodeur to bounce back. He owns a career mark of 40-17-5 against the Canadiens, with nine shutouts and a goals-against average of 1.76.
"They're a team that's really fast, and we haven't seen them much," he said. "I haven't seen them play much at all this year. We'll see."
Brodeur put together a string of strong starts last month, limiting opponents to two goals or less four times to record wins in five of seven appearances from Nov. 5-23.
He has exited early in two of his last three appearances, however, something DeBoer is confident Brodeur can shake off.
"He was fantastic [in November], and we've had a little bump in the road as a team here and him personally a little bit on the [1-3] road trip," the coach said. "He's just got to get through that. It's not a bigger issue than that. He gets back in there again after a big win in Toronto and we need to get another win against Montreal."
New Jersey has recovered from a four-game slide to take two in a row. DeBoer has reasons to be upbeat, not the least of which is the imminent return of Travis Zajac from offseason Achilles surgery.
"My feeling on the team is, it's funny how hockey works in that, you win games that you maybe feel you didn't deserve to, and we lost some on the road where we played well enough that we should've had two points," DeBoer said. "In a season, you deal with that. For me, while it wasn't a textbook technical effort, it was an A-plus for gut check [Thursday]. You have to win all kinds of different ways. We've got that winning feeling back again. We're expecting to win and that's where we need to be. We obviously have to clean up some areas, there's no doubt about that."
|Janssen returned to practice after scary moment Saturday in Winnipeg. (Getty/NHL Images)|
Anton Volchenkov (hand), who also did not skate, is day-to-day, but could face Montreal.
"We got a report from the doctor, it doesn't need surgery, there's nothing broken, so I would classify him as day-to-day," said DeBoer. "We'll see how he is [Saturday]."
Andy Greene (non-displaced toe fracture) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 6, and will miss four weeks.
Cam Janssen (chest contusion) is also on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 3, and skated at Friday's practice. He'll miss his third straight game Saturday.
"Felt great," said Janssen, who stayed on the ice after practice working with Zajac, Rod Pelley and assistant coach Dave Barr. "I don't know if you saw me dangling out there, but the dangles were out today. Apparently they didn't go anywhere in the past four days."
Janssen talked about Saturday's scary moment in Winnipeg when he collided with Jets defenseman Arturs Kulda and had to be rushed to the hospital.
"It was just a collision," Janssen said. "I think his [stick] butt end went right into my sternum. Very freakish, weird. I've collided so many times with so many different people and you think, 'Oh boy, Cam's hurt.' Then I get up and I'm fine."
He felt the play was an accident, but did have the wind knocked out of him, and struggled to breathe after he got back to the bench.
"I had the puck and I kind of held up at the blueline," he said. "I was going to wait for Bolts (Eric Boulton) to come so we could maybe 2-on-1 the guy. I was waiting and all of a sudden he came up, and I dumped it in, and right when I dumped it, I didn't get to brace myself in time to take the hit."
Before long, Janssen was riding in an ambulance. X-rays were negative.
"I skated off the ice and it seized up on me. It was scary there for a bit, it was very scary," he said. "I was worried. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move, I couldn't do anything. It was just a nightmare."
He went for a second opinion in New Jersey and wound up putting the wait time to good use.
"I tried to talk to as many people as I could in there, just killing time and trying to make people feel better," he said. "Me and my fiancée were kind of just cruising around trying to talk to patients. We had to wait around all day and I was just mingling like I do."
He continued: "It just shows you're lucky with what you've got."
Both Janssen and Zajac are expected to travel with the team to Florida. The Devils visit the Lightning on Monday, then the Panthers on Tuesday.
• Defensemen Matt Taormina and Alexander Urbom were recalled from Albany (AHL).