The Sabres won't have to worry about Martin Brodeur blanking them for the second time this season when they meet the New Jersey Devils Saturday night in the Prudential Center because New Jersey coach John MacLean said today that backup Johan Hedberg will make his first start of the season.
Brodeur posted his 112th career shutout Thursday at Montreal and No. 111 was his 1-0 overtime victory Oct. 13 in HSBC Arena.
Hedberg is a 37-year-old veteran of 293 NHL games who burst on the scene with Pittsburgh late in the 2000-01 season. He beat the Sabres and Dominik Hasek in the teams' memorable seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series, which ended on Darius Kasparaitis' overtime goal.
Brodeur has played all seven of the Devils' games so far, going 2-4-1 with a 2.70 goals-against average and .904 save percentage, numbers that are well off his career norms. Hedberg's record against Buffalo is certainly a reason for the call: He's 12-2-2 against the Sabres in his career with a 2.60 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. He has played for Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Dallas and spent the last four years in Atlanta.
It might be the battle of the backups Saturday night as the Sabres could very easily give Patrick Lalime his second start, so Ryan Miller doesn't play three games in four nights.