NEWARK, N.J. -- Johan Hedberg will make his first start in three games on Thursday when the surging New Jersey Devils play host to the red-hot St. Louis Blues at Prudential Center.
The Devils are looking to build upon a season-high five-game winning streak while the Blues enter the game having earned 22 of a possible 24 points against teams from the East this season.
The 38-year-old veteran has won six of his last eight decisions -- the last coming on Saturday in a 6-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. For the season, Hedberg is 13-7-1 with two shutouts, a 2.52 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
The decision comes two days after Martin Brodeur twisted his right ankle in a shutout victory over the New York Rangers. Brodeur didn't practice with the team on Wednesday but did return to the ice for the team's optional skate on Thursday.
"If it's a playoff game, he probably starts, but we want to do the right thing long term here," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We have to emotionally re-engage here and be ready to go."
Four of the Devils' five victories during their current run have come against teams currently holding postseason spots in the East. The steak began with a 4-3 shootout win over the East-leading New York Rangers on Jan. 31.
It isn't known if Brodeur will serve as Hedberg's backup, but the team did recall goalie Jeff Frazee from Albany of the AHL.
"I'm capable of coming in and playing if need be," Brodeur said.
"He looked pretty good in practice," DeBoer said of Brodeur. "I'll sit down with [Devils GM] Lou [Lamoriello] and we'll see how [Brodeur] feels when he gets off the bike and has done his workout."
Meanwhile, defenseman Adam Larsson, who will miss his fourth straight game with a bruised lower back, is progressing nicely according to DeBoer.
"He's getting better and did some light exercise [Thursday morning]," DeBoer said. "All the results on him have been negative, so it's just a matter of time."
DeBoer also said that while wing David Clarkson did not participate in the morning skate, he will suit up Thursday against the Blues. Clarkson, who is having a career-season with 21 goals and 30 points, was the only healthy player not to participate at Thursday's skate.
Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday game for the Devils:
Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Dainius Zubrus - David Clarkson
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Steve Bernier
Eric Boulton - Jacob Josefson - Cam Janssen
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov
Matt Taormina - Kurtis Foster
Johan Hedberg gets the start; either Martin Brodeur (ankle) or Jeff Frazee will serve as backup.