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Brodeur to start Saturday against Florida

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

Martin Brodeur returns to action Saturday, when the Devils host Florida for a 1 p.m. matinee at Prudential Center.

Brodeur was back at practice Friday after being scratched from Thursday's shootout loss to St. Louis. Jeff Frazee was recalled from Albany (AHL) under emergency conditions to back up Johan Hedberg, who made 23 saves in the defeat.

Brodeur tweaked his ankle in a collision with Ryan Callahan on Tuesday. He blanked the Rangers 1-0 to notch his first shutout of the season in dramatic fashion, but missed practice the next day.

He has felt a noticeable improvement since then.

"Night and day," Brodeur said. "Almost all of the swelling is down. That was what prevented me from moving it around as much as I wanted. Now a full-tilt practice here, I didn't miss a beat, so it's good."

Coach Peter DeBoer was relieved that Brodeur's setback proved to be minor.

"You watch the play back, it's kind of an awkward-looking play," DeBoer said. "You can see where he tweaked his leg. Anytime something like that happens, you worry about worst-case scenario. Thankfully, we didn't have to deal with that."

The Devils' (31-19-4) winning streak ended at five games against the Blues, but DeBoer's squad has collected points in a season-high seven straight (5-0-2). Sunday brings another chance for them to gain separation in the conference standings. 

The Panthers (25-17-11), currently third in the East by virtue of their Southeast Division lead, have been battling Washington to stay out of ninth place. Florida is 4-3-3 in its last 10 games.

"These points are crucial, not just for us, but for them," Brodeur said. "They're coming off a big win against L.A. [Thursday] night. It'll be a big challenge for us to bounce back. We played, I thought, pretty well [against St. Louis], coming back from an emotional win against New York. We have to step it up and even play better. Their D are going to be something that we're going to have to watch, and their big line [Tomas Fleischmann-Stephen Weiss-Kris Versteeg], also."

• Hedberg and Dainius Zubrus had rest days and did not practice.

• Forward Ryan Carter (hand) was placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Feb. 2.
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