It's been an injury filled season for New Jersey Devils (26-31-4) goalie Martin Brodeur.
Out since February 6 with a sprained MCL, Brodeur once again watched as backup Johan Hedberg stepped in and started eight straight games, going 7-1-0 in those contests.
Brodeur will get between the pipes once again as the Devils face the Florida Panthers (26-28-7) today at the BankAtlantic Center.
Before sustaining his injury, Brodeur was back to his winning ways. In his 10 starts, Brodeur is 8-1-1. The future Hall-of-Famer, who spent four games as Hedberg's backup, is excited to get back into a game.
"It will be fun to get back and get ready for a game instead of just showing up," Brodeur told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "It will be nice."
The Devils will need Brodeur at his best. New Jersey, who lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 Friday night, are 11 points out of the playoffs entering today's game.
The Panthers have had the Devils' number during New Jersey's impressive 16-2-2 streak. Florida holds two of those defeats, including a 4-3 overtime win on February 4. Ahead 3-2 in the third period, Florida's Mike Santorelli tied the game with a shorthanded tally at 12:52. Rostislav Olesz won the game 2 minutes into the overtime period, giving the Panthers their second overtime win over the Devils this season.
Despite their recent fire sale, the Panthers still lead the Devils by three points in the standings. The Devils can't jump over the Panthers tonight, but a win would help their push toward the playoffs.
Brodeur hopes to continue his team's winning ways.
"I was playing really good when I got hurt, so, hopefully, I'll gain that feeling back," Brodeur told Gulitti. "When you don't play for a while, it takes time, but the team seems to be playing really well. So, hopefully, that's going to help a little bit get in a groove. I'm just going out there open-minded and will try to do my best."