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Following a shaky start to the season, Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils have gotten on a roll.
They'll go for a seventh win in eight games Wednesday night as they continue a five-game road trip against the woeful Phoenix Coyotes.
During New Jersey's 4-4-1 start, Brodeur allowed three goals or more in five of his eight appearances while posting an .889 save percentage. Things started turning around for the Devils, though, when Brodeur notched back-to-back shutouts over Florida and Columbus to close October.
Since a loss to the New York Islanders to open this month, Brodeur has won seven of eight starts and posted a 1.68 goals-against average.
New Jersey (12-6-1) has needed him to be at the top of his game, as it's last in the Eastern Conference with 48 goals.
The two-time Vezina Trophy winner made 33 saves Saturday in a 2-1 victory over Toronto, getting his shutout bid spoiled by Darcy Tucker's goal with 3:37 to play. Brodeur has 83 shutouts, one away from tying Glenn Hall for third place all-time.
"There was a moment of weakness on that goal (by Tucker), but I felt great. It's only my second time all year I've played back-to-back," Brodeur said. "It's nice to be able to perform at that level."
He needed to make only 15 saves in a 3-2 victory over Ottawa the previous night.
New Jersey was outshot 34-19 on Saturday, but did not allow a power-play goal for the third straight game.
"We gave up too many chances. Thankfully for us Marty was on his game," said Patrik Elias, who scored his fourth goal of the season.
Brodeur will have had three days of rest this time as he and the Devils face the Coyotes (6-14-0) for the first time since 2003. He's 7-2 with a 1.67 GAA in his last nine starts against them.
At some point on this road trip, which also includes games against Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles, the Devils expect to get center Scott Gomez back in the lineup. It's possible he could return Wednesday after missing the past seven games with a groin injury.
Phoenix's Yanic Perreault, meanwhile, has scored in a career-high five consecutive games, one shy of the league season high. All of his six goals this season have come during that stretch, and he leads the Coyotes despite not signing with them until Oct. 29.
Perrault's two-point effort Sunday wasn't enough as Phoenix lost 6-4 at Anaheim.
The latest loss for the Coyotes, whose 12 points are tied for second-fewest in the NHL, did not seem to bother coach Wayne Gretzky much.
"We did a lot of good things, and physically we played hard," Gretzky said. "They (the Ducks) are a really good hockey club with a lot of depth and a lot of talent.
"We made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized."
Wednesday's game is expected to mark the season debut of Phoenix's Mike Ricci, recalled from San Antonio of the AHL after playing two games there to complete his rehabilitation from offseason neck surgery.
The 35-year-old center had only 10 goals and six assists in 78 games last season, his first with Phoenix after seven with San Jose.
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