NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, February 26th
(All times eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (28-32-1) at New Jersey Devils (38-19-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will have future Hall of Fame
goaltender Martin Brodeur back in net for the first time since early November
when they host the Colorado Avalanche in tonight's interconference matchup at
Brodeur has been sidelined since he tore the distal biceps muscle in his left
elbow on November 1, an injury that required surgery.
The four-time Vezina Trophy winner returns on the brink of breaking a couple
of league records for goaltenders. He is just seven wins away from tying
Patrick Roy for most wins (551) and is five shutouts shy of Terry Sawchuk's
103 career whitewashes.
In Brodeur's absence, Scott Clemmensen, who the team assigned to Lowell of the
American Hockey League to make room for Brodeur, took over most of the
goaltending duties for the Devils and posted a mark of 25-13-1 with a 2.39
goals-against average and two shutouts in 40 appearances.
Clemmensen and Kevin Weekes did an excellent job tending goal while Brodeur
was sidelined and helped the Devils overtake first place in the Atlantic
Division. With 79 points, New Jersey is four points ahead of Philadelphia in
the division and just two points in back of Washington for second place in the
The Devils went 1-2-0 on a recent three-game road trip and ended that swing
with Saturday's shutout loss to the New York Islanders. Yann Danis made a
career-high 40 saves to lead the Islanders to the 4-0 win at Nassau Coliseum.
Clemmensen yielded four goals on 38 shots for the Devils, who had posted
victories in 14 of their previous 17 outings.
Tonight's test kicks off a three-game homestand for New Jersey, which is
19-10-1 as the host this year and has won four straight on home ice. The
Devils will also host Florida and Philadelphia during the residency.
The Avalanche, meanwhile, are in the midst of their longest road trip of the
season and have gone 1-2 so far on the six-game swing. Colorado is just
11-18-1 as the road club this season.
After beginning the trek with last Friday's win in Washington, the Avs were
handed consecutive losses by Carolina and Atlanta. The most recent setback
came Tuesday in Atlanta, as the Thrashers posted a 4-3 decision at Philips
Milan Hejduk had two goals to lead the Avalanche. Chris Stewart also scored
for Colorado, while Peter Budaj gave up four goals on 26 shots in the loss.
Colorado also welcomed the return of 23-year-old forward Paul Stastny, who
missed the previous 26 games with a fractured right forearm. He played a
little more than 24 minutes and had an assist.
The Avalanche are last in the Western Conference with 57 points, but are still
only eight points out of a playoff berth.
This is Colorado's first-ever contest at Prudential Center, as the teams last
met in the Garden State when the Avs notched a 4-3 shootout win at the Izod
Center on December 9, 2005. The Devils opened up their new arena last season.
New Jersey won the most recent meeting between the teams, as it posted a 4-2
decision in Denver on March 15 of last season.
02/26 10:42:16 ET