Coming off an historic evening in New Jersey, Martin Brodeur has likely earned himself a well-deserved night off.
On Wednesday night, the NHL’s winningest goaltender could be rested as the surging Devils look for a fifth straight victory when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.
Brodeur made 30 saves in New Jersey’s 3-2 victory over Chicago on Tuesday to pass Patrick Roy for the most career victories in league history with 522.
“It was an exciting night,” said Brodeur, who is 8-1-0 since returning Feb. 26 from elbow surgery that sidelined for 50 games. “I’m happy that it’s done and over with. It was an awesome night.”
With Brodeur’s achievement and Patrik Elias becoming the Devils’ career scoring leader with 702 points, history overshadowed the fact that New Jersey (46-20-3) has won eight of its last nine games to move within four points of the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins.
While Brodeur is 14-3-2 on the season and 31-12-1 with five ties and a 2.05 lifetime goals-against average against the Hurricanes franchise, backup Kevin Weekes is likely to start in this back-to-back scenario.
Weekes is 7-4-0 with a 2.27 GAA, but hasn’t started since making 39 saves in a 3-2 shootout win at Tampa Bay on Feb. 19. The former Hurricane is 3-5-0 with a tie and a 2.79 GAA in his career against Carolina.
“I don’t think it matters,” Carolina coach Paul Maurice told the Hurricanes’ official Web site of which netminder his team will likely face. “It won’t change the way the team plays in front of him, and they’re going to get good goaltending no matter who they put in there.”
Elias, who assisted on Brian Gionta’s 16th goal, has two goals and three assists in his last three games. He had a goal and an assist in the only previous meeting of the season between these teams, a 3-2 Devils loss at Carolina on Jan. 6.
While New Jersey is making a push toward the top of the East, Carolina (36-28-7) is hoping to reach the playoffs for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2005-06.
The Hurricanes, who currently own the eighth and final playoff spot by one point over Florida, return home after falling 5-4 in a shootout at Washington on Saturday to conclude an 0-1-2 road trip.
“The three days off is important to us right now just to get our energy level back, and then being at home is important for sure,” Maurice said.
Staal, who has five points in his last three games, had an assist against the Devils in January. Whitney had a goal in that contest and is now looking to score in his third consecutive game overall.
Cam Ward, who made 27 saves against the Capitals on Saturday, looks to avoid his fourth straight loss. Ward is 3-4-1 with a 2.99 GAA against New Jersey, but has won his last two starts versus the Devils.
Carolina plays eight of its final 11 games at home, with two of those road contests coming at New Jersey on March 28 and April 11.