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Brodeur, Brunner to play Thursday vs. Isles

Wednesday, 09.18.2013 / 4:14 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Brodeur, Brunner to play Thursday vs. Isles


Martin Brodeur
will make his first start of the preseason on Thursday when the Devils host the Islanders at Prudential Center.

Brodeur's expected to play two periods, same as Cory Schneider did in Monday's exhibition win over the Rangers. Even with 1,220 regular-season appearances under his belt, the NHL's all-time wins leader looks forward to a little preseason tune-up.

"The first step to get the season going is playing some preseason games," Brodeur said. "It's a feeling-out process every year. It's like riding a bicycle, you get it back, but sometimes it's a little bit harder to jump on your bike. We'll see how it goes [on Thursday]."

Free agent forward Damien Brunner is set to make his Devils debut. The pro tryout skated on a line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus for a second straight day and is eager to find out how he might fit with the club.

"I think we'll find out over the next two weeks," Brunner said. "I've got to prove myself here every day and I hope I can do a good job of it."

During power play drills, Brunner worked with Elias and Steve Bernier.

"Obviously I have to help in areas where I'm best," he said. "I think I have to use my speed, my shot and create some offense and put some pucks in the net."

"He looks good out there," said head coach Peter DeBoer. "That's the idea, I think, of him coming here was to get in some games, get a good evaluation for us. The best way to do that is in games."

Thursday's game will also give the Devils a closer look at defenseman Jon Merrill. The 21-year-old made his pro debut with 12 games in Albany (AHL) last season and is among the young crop of blueliners bidding to make the NHL squad.

"I'm excited to get some action in the preseason game [Thursday] night," Merrill said. "Other than that, everything's been going smooth and it's been a really good first week."

Merrill was paired with Mark Fayne at practice and worked the point on the power play with Marek Zidlicky. But what he's most focused on is his own performance.

"I think the biggest thing is just stay consistent, play my game and not worry about the things that I can't control like who's in the lineup and who's practicing with who," said the former Michigan Wolverine. "Those are things that are out of my control. I just try to play my game and see what happens."

With Merrill and up-and-comers like Eric Gelinas and Alexander Urbom, Brodeur is encouraged by the next generation of Devils defenders.

"It's been great," Brodeur said. "I think the boys are playing really good. Our young guys, we have some big bodies and really mobile defensemen and the older guys are playing well so far. The games are where you start to see how it's going to pan out with the core we're going to have playing defense, but definitely feel real comfortable with what we have, especially with the young guys."

Both Brunner and Merrill hope to stick around for the season ahead. A week since veterans reported to camp, the battle for roster spots is well underway.

"I think guys just look at the depth chart and realize that there's a limited number of jobs and there's a lot of NHL players here," DeBoer said. "It creates great competition and the pace [at practice] is very good, I think, because of that."

Jaromir Jagr (lower body soreness) could be closer to rejoining the team for practice. He skated on his own Wednesday morning for the first time since last week.

"He did have a light skate today and it went well," DeBoer said.

Wednesday's first session:

Dainius Zubrus - Patrik Elias - Damien Brunner
Ryane Clowe
- Travis Zajac - Michael Ryder
Rostislav Olesz
- Andrei Loktionov - Steve Bernier
Ryan Carter
- Adam Henrique - Stephen Gionta
Mattias Tedenby
- Jacob Josefson - Krys Barch

Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene
- Adam Larsson
Jon Merrill
- Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov
- Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur
Cory Schneider

Power play
Bernier - Elias - Brunner
Clowe - Zajac - Ryder
Henrique - Loktionov - Olesz

Merrill - Zidlicky
Larsson - Harrold

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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