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Cheering for Brodeur

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
Besides watching the obvious games around the league tonight involving teams competing for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, Canes fans may want to pay some extra attention to tomorrow’s opponent as well.

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The Devils are at home tonight against the Blackhawks – a game the Hurricanes will probably want them to win, considering that Martin Brodeur’s next victory, his 552nd, will push him past Patrick Roy as the winningest goaltender of all time. If that milestone isn’t accomplished tonight for whatever reason, the Devils will have plenty of motivation to do it tomorrow.

“We’re cheering for him tonight,” Canes Coach Paul Maurice said with a smile. “But really, I don’t think it matters. It won’t change the way the team plays in front of him the next night, and they’re going to get good goaltending no matter who they put in there.”

If the Devils do win tonight, it will be an advantageous situation for the Canes, who may not have to face Brodeur at all. Teams often rest goaltenders on the second half of back-to-back games – especially teams assured of a playoff spot whose star netminder recently returned from a long injury hiatus. Meanwhile, Carolina has been idle and waiting in Raleigh since Sunday.

If that scenario were to occur, the Canes would be facing someone that Maurice knows well.

“Kevin Weekes is a real fine NHL goaltender," he said.  "In the last game I saw with the Hurricanes and Devils on the ice, he made a glove save on John Madden that I’ll never forget. I’ve got a lot of time for Kevin Weekes, and I think he’s a very capable goaltender.”

For fans who have the NHL Network but not necessarily the Center Ice package, the network announced yesterday that it would televise Brodeur’s attempt, so feel free to do some scouting if you have that channel.

Even after he took yesterday off to deal with the upper body injury he suffered in Washington on Saturday, it appears the Hurricanes will have Patrick Eaves back for the game. He returned to practice today, skating on a line with Dwight Helminen and Tim Conboy. 

Jussi Jokinen, who had previously been centering the fourth line since his return from Finland, was moved up to the right side of Rod Brind’Amour and Sergei Samsonov.

Scott Walker practiced fully on the “Black Ace” unit with Ryan Bayda and Michael Ryan, but will remain out of the lineup for tomorrow. – Depth Chart

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