newjerseydevils.com – The Devils had been unable to record a win in their last seven visits to Joe Louis Arena, even with a four-time Vezina Trophy winner in net for five of those games.
Now, with Martin Brodeur injured for the foreseeable future, the Devils turn again to Kevin Weekes on Saturday (7 p.m., MSG Plus 2, WFAN 660 AM) as they try for their first road win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings in 12 years.
Weekes is expected to make his third start of the season for New Jersey (7-3-2) since taking over for Brodeur, who will be sidelined until at least February after tearing a biceps tendon in his left elbow last weekend. Weekes recorded his first win in nearly a year in a 4-3 shootout victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday. He made 24 saves in regulation and overtime after stopping 28 shots in Monday's 2-0 loss to Buffalo.
"Everybody is talking about Marty being down," said Devils forward Patrik Elias, who had a goal and an assist in regulation and also scored in the shootout. "In here, we have to focus on what we have. Weekes has done a great job the last couple of games. Even when they scored first on the shootout, he stayed with it. That showed good poise on his part."
Weekes faces a daunting task on Saturday. New Jersey - making its first appearance at Joe Louis since 2005 - is seeking its first win in Detroit since a 2-0 victory on Nov. 6, 1996, when Brodeur stopped 36 shots. The Devils have dropped seven straight road games to the Red Wings since then.
Weekes is 0-6-0 with one tie and a 4.60 goals-against average versus the Wings. In three starts in Detroit, he's allowed 15 goals.
"Obviously the best goalie in the world is no longer here right now," Weekes said. "We certainly miss him, but our strength is in numbers. We have to continue to believe that."
Weekes and the Devils hope to catch the defending Cup champions off guard as Detroit (8-2-2) returns to the ice for the first time since a 3-2 win over Vancouver on Sunday.
Mikael Samuelsson, Brian Rafalski and Henrik Zetterberg all scored power-play goals in the victory. The Red Wings have converted on 17 of 51 opportunities (33.3%) for the best power play in the NHL. They were 3-for-5 on Sunday.
This is only the fifth home game for Rafalski and the Red Wings, who are returning to Detroit after a 3-1-1 road trip. They host Pittsburgh on Tuesday before heading back on the road for five of their following six games.