Brodeur ready to return after month-long absence

Wednesday, 03.20.2013 / 3:00 PM NHL.com

New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur told reporters Wednesday he will return between the pipes Thursday when his team visits PNC Arena to face the Carolina Hurricanes.

Brodeur confirmed his availability following the team's practice at Prudential Center in Newark, but coach Peter DeBoer would not commit to Brodeur starting against the Hurricanes.

Brodeur would be making his first appearance since making 19 saves in a 3-2 victory against the Washington Capitals on Feb. 21. After a planned game off Feb. 23 against the Capitals, Brodeur removed himself from the lineup during warmups prior to the Devils' home game Feb. 24 against the Winnipeg Jets.

Brodeur told Rich Chere of The (Newark) Star-Ledger he is happy to be back, but he didn't want it to look like Johan Hedberg was the cause of the team's recent struggles. New Jersey has won three of its past 13 games to fall to ninth in the Eastern Conference with 13 wins and 32 points.

Brodeur was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 24 when an MRI revealed that he had sustained a pinched nerve in his neck and upper back that was causing numbness in his shoulder and arm.

For the season, Brodeur is 8-2-3 with a 2.27 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and one shutout. He is the National Hockey League's all-time career leader among goalies in games played (1,204), victories (664) and shutouts (120).

Hedberg had made a personal-best 13 straight starts. He started every game in Brodeur's absence and was 3-8-2. In 17 games this season, the 39-year-old is 5-9-3 with a 2.73 GAA, .886 save percentage and one shutout.

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