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DeBoer: Brodeur could back up Hedberg on Tuesday

Monday, 03.18.2013 / 2:53 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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DeBoer: Brodeur could back up Hedberg on Tuesday

 
Devils coach Peter DeBoer is happy to have Martin Brodeur practicing with the team again, but he's taking a patient approach to getting him back in the lineup.

Johan Hedberg will start Tuesday's game against the Rangers. Brodeur, who returned to practice on Monday after missing the last 11 games, could back up.

"If he's healthy enough to go in if we needed him, yes," DeBoer said. "But I'm not going to rush or force him into that; that's not necessary."

The Devils (13-10-6) have dropped two in a row (0-1-1) since winning three of four. The Rangers sat in 10th place heading into Monday's home meeting with Carolina.

"They're all big," DeBoer said of the upcoming matchup between Hudson River rivals. "We talked this morning: for me there's two teams at the top of each conference, one or two at the bottom, then there's everybody else. It's going to be who can separate themselves from the pack over the last 19 games. Our mindset is Rangers or whoever we're playing, we have to start picking up points on a nightly basis."

Past the halfway mark of the shortened season, both of last year's Eastern Conference finalists are looking to strengthen their positions within the top eight.

"You're going to get desperate teams every single night now," DeBoer said. "There's no easy nights. This is the playoff push. It's going to be a full sprint to the finish here for 19 games. We have to be ready to go."

• DeBoer said sending Stefan Matteau back to his junior team in Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL) was the right decision for the Devils' 2012 first-round pick.

"He got great experience, learned a lot," DeBoer said. "He's got a big upside and a bright future. I think the League this time of year goes to another level. It's tough for young guys their first time around to find that. I think it was the right move."

Matteau posted a goal and two assists in 17 games and is eligible to return after the QMJHL playoffs.

• Andrei Loktionov skated on his own Monday, but remains day-to-day.

• Henrik Tallinder and Dainius Zubrus are "inching closer to a return, Tally closer than Zubrus," DeBoer said.

• Monday's forward lines:

Ponikarovsky - Henrique - Kovalchuk

Pesonen - Elias - Clarkson

Carter - Zajac - Bernier

Barch - Gionta - Kostopoulos

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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