New Jersey (12-12-1) at Toronto (15-10-2)

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By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO, STATS Writer Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011 Puck Drop: 7:00 pm EST Tue Dec 6, 2011

Both Martin Brodeur(notes) and the New Jersey Devils could use a change of fortune.

Brodeur will try to rebound from perhaps the worst start of his storied career and help the Devils snap a four-game slide Tuesday night when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Brodeur has struggled through most of this season, going 5-7-0 with a 3.31 goals-against average and .879 save percentage in 13 games, also missing six with a shoulder injury. That ineffectiveness has led to him splitting time with Johan Hedberg(notes).

The NHL’s all-time leader in wins (630) and shutouts (116), Brodeur has lost his last three outings with a 5.68 GAA, and his most recent was the second-shortest start of his nearly 20-year career.

He lasted just 8:17 on Friday, surrendering three goals on four shots en route to a 4-2 loss at Minnesota.

Brodeur is anxious to get back in net after backing up Hedberg in Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to Winnipeg. He’s slated to get the call against the Maple Leafs (15-10-2), but has dropped three of four versus Toronto after stopping just 18 of 23 shots in a 5-3 home loss Nov. 2.

“You have to play,” Brodeur told the team’s official website. “I want to be in there and try to fight through what I have to fight through personally, as far as feeling my game.

“You look at a week ago, I felt really, really good about everything and I played a game in eight minutes, now you feel it’s a little harder.”

The Devils (12-12-1) could use a strong performance from the future Hall of Famer as they try to snap a four-game overall losing streak while concluding this stretch of four consecutive road contests. They haven’t endured a longer skid since dropping six straight Dec. 17-29, 2010.

Coach Peter DeBoer is chalking the current losing streak up to bad luck.

“We’re in one of those stretches of the season that everybody has where it seems like we just can’t get a bounce at one end and can’t keep it out at the other end,” he said. “It’s my job to filter through exactly how we’re playing.

“Our last two games, we’ve outshot, out-chanced, outplayed the opponent for long stretches. That will eventually lead to wins.”

Despite the slide, New Jersey is getting production from its top line of Zach Parise(notes), Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) and rookie Adam Henrique(notes).

Henrique has six points during a season-high five-game point streak, while Parise and Kovalchuk have five points apiece in the last four contests.

Kovalchuk has 13 points in his last 12 visits to Toronto, but Parise hasn’t managed a point in the last four meetings overall.

The Maple Leafs return home looking to build on Monday’s 4-2 win over the New York Rangers, but they’re 1-4-1 in the last six at the Air Canada Centre.

Phil Kessel(notes), who had two assists in Manhattan, leads the NHL with 34 points while his 16 goals tie him for second. The star right wing has five assists in his last six games, but has failed to find the net in that stretch.

He’s been a force at home, scoring 11 goals while setting up nine others in 12 contests.

That’s been a familiar theme for Kessel versus the visiting Devils. He has three goals and an assist in four home meetings with New Jersey since joining the Leafs, and he had two assists in Newark last month - getting both on goals by Joffrey Lupul(notes), who netted his third career hat trick.

Lupul, second on Toronto with 13 goals and 31 points, has two goals and three assists in the last two home games.

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Tuesday, Dec 6