Martin Brodeur's remarkable run of 18 straight starts in season openers for the New Jersey Devils will come to an end on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
The team announced Wednesday that Cory Schneider would get the nod between the pipes. Brodeur is expected to be back in net for the team's home opener against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on Friday.
Schneider becomes the first Devils goalie other than Brodeur to play in the team's season opener since Chris Terreri got the nod in 1993-94 and earned a 2-1 win on Oct. 6, 1993, at Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, N.J.
"Any time you get to start the opener for your team it's a big honor and a privilege," Schneider told The (Bergen) Record. "I'm really looking forward to it. It's fun to be playing hockey in October instead of waiting until January, like it was last year (because of the lockout). I think we're all eager to start playing."
Devils coach Peter DeBoer told reporters he wanted to give his veteran goalie an extra day of rest following the recent passing of his father, Denis. The elder Brodeur died on Sept. 26 at the age of 82. Brodeur left the Devils to fly to Montreal and subsequently missed the team's final preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers while attending the funeral.
"It was more the timing that he could get an extra day to prepare after what he's been through," DeBoer said.
Brodeur had started every season opener for the Devils since 1994-95.
"Regardless, I know I was not going to play both, so I'm all for it,” Brodeur told The Record. "I haven't seen much action in the preseason, so it's kind of nice to be able to get a game day and get on the ice and be on the bench and look at the speed of different things. I think that's going to help me out for my game."
Schneider, who was acquired by the Devils in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks at the 2013 NHL Draft in June, had an impressive preseason with his new team. The 27-year-old finished 4-0-0 with a 0.30 goals-against average, .988 save percentage and one shutout in four appearances.
In other news, both Jaromir Jagr (lower-body soreness) and Patrik Elias (groin) declared themselves ready for Thursday's game against the Penguins. In order to make room for Elias, who was on injured reserve, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello placed defenseman Alexander Urbom on waivers. If Urbom clears waivers at noon on Thursday, Lamoriello told reporters he would assign the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Swede to the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Albany Devils.
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