|Brodeur faces Atlanta for the first time since his elbow injury last season. |
The Devils had momentum on their side heading into this weekend’s two-game homestand. Jersey’s Team was set to host Atlanta on Friday followed by Carolina on Saturday.
“We just need to play hard,” Martin Brodeur
said. “We have to believe in the way we played on the road and try to put that into home games. We played pretty well against the Rangers (in our last home game), so it’s been four games that we’ve been playing some pretty good hockey. We just have to continue in that way, and make sure that we pay attention to details. Special teams are good, especially at home, when you get an advantage you have to take care of it.”
It will be the first time Brodeur faces the Thrashers since Nov. 1, 2008, when he ruptured a tendon in his left elbow and was forced to miss 50 games. The Devils’ netminder has backstopped his club to three straight wins and said he has thought about what happened the last time Atlanta came to town.
“It’s hard to forget when it’s the first time you get hurt in your career,” he said. “You face them again, almost in similar fashion as far as the (time of) season, at home. It’s funny because when it happened it was November 1st and it was my twins’ birthday and they all brought their buddies. They want to do the same thing, and they said ‘I don’t know if Daddy should bring all of our friends – it was bad luck last time.’ So alright, maybe we’ll do something else. Maybe we’ll go to Chuck E. Cheese.”
Atlanta's led by Ilya Kovalchuk
, who has five goals and an assist in three games. A pure goal scorer, the Russian right wing owns one of the hardest shots among NHL forwards.
We have to believe in the way we played on the road and try to put that into home games. - Martin Brodeur
“Definitely, along with (Alex) Ovechkin and (Evgeni) Malkin, there’s a lot of good Russian guys that can shoot the puck, I guess,” Brodeur said. “He’s definitely a big threat to us offensively so we have to pay special attention. He’ll beat you from anywhere on the ice with that shot – you’d better be aware of him.”
New Jersey kept Ovechkin without a goal in Monday’s 3-2 shootout win, although the two-time reigning MVP registered two assists. Brodeur said Kovalchuk and Ovechkin are both offensively gifted, but each plays the game differently.
“(Kovalchuk’s) a lot more selective on the shots that he takes compared to Ovechkin that just shoots every time he gets the puck and it’s off his stick and towards the net,” Brodeur said. “That’s the type of player that Ovechkin is, and Kovalchuk’s a little different. He’s a guy that’s going to hide himself sometimes; he’s not as active as far as hitting and being all over the place.
"For whatever reason, Ovechkin touches the puck and you have 20,000 people looking at him; Kovalchuk maybe not yet. You have to careful. You know he’s selective and he’s going to take the good shots. Chico (Resch) was giving me the stats on it, he’s has five goals on 11 shots, that’s pretty impressive. You have to watch him.”
The Devils (3-2-0) are winless on home ice, where they opened the season with losses to Philadelphia and the Rangers. Head coach Jacques Lemaire and his staff know what will be needed to capture the first victory of the new season at Prudential Center.
“We just have to get all the players to play at their best,” Lemaire said. “This is what we’re looking for. If we get all the guys to put what they have, I don’t see any problem. I know that in the first couple of games, we were not at our best. But I think we’re growing since and the team is better.”
A greater familiarity with his players’ potential was one of the positives that Lemaire took from the Devils’ successful trip.
“I think I’m starting to know the players better, what they can do and who can go with whom,” he said. “That’s, to me, an advantage for myself coaching and we’re still looking to solve some little issues that we have with the penalty kill and the power play, but that will come. Our defensive game is good; our offensive game, we want to get more pucks at the net, obviously, so we can get more goals. This will come in time.”