If the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers were playing inside Prudential Center or Madison Square Garden Sunday, Cory Schneider would likely be getting the start. But since the scene is Yankee Stadium as part of the NHL's Stadium Series, the big stage will go to the veteran and future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.
Schneider has the better numbers on the season (1.84 GAA /.928 save% versus Brodeur's 2.36 GAA / .905 save%), but Devils head coach Peter DeBoer didn't find the decision to be a tough one.
"It really is an easy decision from a right thing to do perspective," said DeBoer after Saturday's practice. "His career, 20 years with the Devils, what he’s done, and also he’s played some excellent hockey for us this year. He was outstanding last week in Montreal.
"The tough part was that Cory is on a roll right now, and he’s been almost unbeatable for the last five or six games. So that threw a little bit of a wrench in the thinking, but at the end of the day, this is the right thing to do. And both guys have handled it professionally and Cory understands that."
Schneider has been on a roll, going 5-1-2 in his last eight games and not allowing more than two goals a game over that stretch. But when DeBoer told them who would be in the crease Sunday afternoon, Schneider understood.
"This is a pretty special event and Marty hasn't played in an outdoor game before," Schneider told NHL Network Saturday. "It's going to be fun to watch. He always seems to play his best against the Rangers and in these big games. I'm fine with it. I'll be supporting him and rooting him on [Sunday]."
"I don’t make the decision," said Brodeur. "I would have accepted it one way or the other. They decided to go with me. So we’re in a situation that sometimes we get these games that mean a lot to different people for different reasons. And I guess they felt it meant a lot to me and they put me in.
"I want to deserve to play because of the way I play now, not what I did in the past."
Two points are still on the line and currently the Devils sit a point out of both a wild card spot and the Columbus Blue Jackets for no. 3 in the Metropolitan Division. And the two points are vital for a team on the playoff bubble. Just as long as they avoid a shootout, where they've been unsuccessful eight times this season.
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