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Devils continue preseason tonight in Philly

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Brodeur will play tonight in Philadelphia.
After starting Yann Danis in their first two exhibition contests, the Devils turn to Martin Brodeur tonight in Philadelphia. Brodeur will make his 2009 preseason debut against the Flyers as Jersey's Team looks to improve to 3-0-0 (7p, no TV/radio).

The games won't count until the regular season begins on Saturday, Oct. 3, but even the winningest goaltender in NHL history said he benefits from the tune-up.

"I think it's just the feeling of a game, going through the minutes of a game, different situations," Brodeur said after Thursday's morning skate. "You can do it in practice if you want, but when you have the intensity of an NHL game, it's a lot different physically, mentally. It's a work in progress. You always expect to do well, you want to do well, but it's a learning curve. You've done it for so long, but you still want to see how comfortable you can get in net as quick as possible."

Head coach Jacques Lemaire confirmed Brodeur as his starter, but wouldn't say whether he expected to use him for the whole game. Danis has gone the distance in both of his appearances, including a 20-save performance in Wednesday's 4-2 win at Nassau Coliseum.

Brodeur figures to shoulder the full workload in the Devils' final two preseason contests, both at home: Saturday vs. Philadelphia and Tuesday vs. the Islanders 

"(Danis) is new here, so they want to see what he's able to do, too," Brodeur said. "Playing full games, I think it's important for a goalie; the last couple I'll be playing full ones."

Lemaire doesn't see a need to make a change in net if his goalie is getting the job done.

"It's good to go through a whole game and win the game, especially when they're winning," Lemaire said. "You get three or four goals against, you think about moving him to change the game. For certain reasons, you pull him out."

Preseason presents its own set of challenges at a time when clubs are still trimming their training camp rosters. Brodeur said unfamiliar lineups for each team can make preparation difficult.

"In preseason games you always have guys that are fighting for jobs," he said. "It's a combination of different things, and you never know what's going to be thrown at you in preseason compared to regular season when you scout the (opponent) and you know your team, the rookies and the young guys, or guys not used to playing certain systems. It's always a wait-and-see a bit in preseason, but it's good because you get to play games and kick off a little bit of the rust that comes from not playing for a while."

Lemaire was not on the ice with the team on Thursday, and said he occasionally skips morning skates unless he feels the team has specific needs to be addressed.

"Sometimes I don't," he said. "When I feel the team is going well, there's nothing special, I won't go. Depends on how I see things. If I see it's necessary, I'll go. They stayed on the ice 20 minutes, max. Out of 20 minutes, there's only 13, 14 minutes that they're working. They get three, four drills, that's it. If it's something that we want to work on – the power play – then I'll be there, for sure."

The coach said Wednesday's win looked better on video than it had in person.

"I felt that we didn't cover up well for each other, especially when we're losing the puck," he said. "We're a little spread out when we're losing the puck. In our end, I think we can play better, and we will play better."

Lemaire did like some of what he saw. Vladimir Zharkov and Jamie Langenbrunner each scored on the power play before Olivier Magnan-Grenier broke a 2-2 tie with 9:33 left in the third period. Niclas Bergfors added an empty-netter for his third point (1g-2a) in two preseason games.

Brian Rolston and Cory Murphy each had two assists.

"Seems like as a coach, you're trying to correct more than, just saying, 'We did this well, or we did that well, or we had one good pass in the first,'" Lemaire said. "Instead of looking at that, you're trying to get the perfect game. That's why maybe this morning it looked better than last night. And let's not forget we didn't play for six days."

As for two games in two nights, Lemaire said it's an opportunity to see how some of the prospects can handle the grind.

"It's great to have a back-to-back to see if a guy can play two games in two nights," he said. "Sometimes you have a good game, and then you need another week to have another one. In the NHL, you have to show up every night."

Lemaire said he will use some of the same lineup from Wednesday with a few changes on defense.

David Clarkson is hoping for more celebrations like these in 09-10.
• The potential addition of tough guy Andrew Peters would fill the opening for a heavyweight created by Mike Rupp's departure, but it won't affect David Clarkson's role.

Clarkson, who led the team with 164 penalty minutes last season, also had a career year on the scoresheet, popping in 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 points. He anticipates doing more with the stick and less with his fists in 2009-10.

"I'm going to play more of an offensive role this year, I know that and I'm ready for that," Clarkson said. "I'm still going to fight, but I'm not going to fight as much. I think I'm going to pick my spots a little bit better, and fight more when we're down by a couple and the team needs a boost or a guy hits a guy instead of fighting just for the sake of fighting. I'm going to show that I can have the same season I did last year, if not better."

Clarkson never felt that he was expected to fight, only that he had something to prove.

"My first three years in the NHL, I wanted to show everybody that I was tough enough and that I could play the game," he said. "You look at all the young guys that broke into the League: Billy Guerin broke into the League that way. He didn't score many goals, but he fought. Wendel Clark was a guy that came into the League and fought. I try to follow the guys that played that  I admired when they were younger. I think I'll always have that fight in me, but at the same time you do want to go out there and show them that you can put the puck in the net. I think I did that last year, and I think I'm going to do that again this year."

Morning skate
10:07a – Twenty-six skaters on the ice for today's morning skate. The Devils beat the Islanders, 4-2, on Wednesday to improve to 2-0 in the preseason, and head to Philadelphia to face the Flyers tonight.

Today's forwards (12): Zach Parise, David Clarkson, Jay Pandolfo, Patrice Cormier, Nick Palmieri, Andrew Peters, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Patrick Davis, Michael Swift, Alex Vasyunov, Ben Walter, Olivier Magnan-Grenier.

On defense (12): Mike Mottau, Bryce Salvador, Mark Fraser, Paul Martin, Andy Greene, Matt Corrente, Rob Davison, Alex Urbom, Jay Leach, Tyler Eckford, Colin White, Eric Gelinas.

Goaltenders are Martin Brodeur and Jeff Frazee. Yann Danis and Gerald Coleman joined the session late.
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