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Blues' Brodeur to make home debut vs. Panthers

by Louie Korac

PANTHERS (11-7-7) at BLUES (17-8-2)


ST. LOUIS -- Having played a combined 1,400-plus regular season and Stanley Cup Playoff games, Monday will be one of those rare firsts for St. Louis Blues goalie Martin Brodeur.

Brodeur, who spent his entire 21-year career with the New Jersey Devils before signing with the Blues on Dec. 2, will play his first home game when the Blues face the Florida Panthers at Scottrade Center.

Brodeur encountered this occasion one other time when the Devils played at the Meadowlands, so it's been a while in that regard.

"I'm looking forward to it; I think it's an advantage to play in your home building," said Brodeur, who is 40-16-2 in 65 career games against the Panthers. "Fans are always a big component and a reason the guys have success in their building. It'll be interesting to see how it is."

Brodeur, who earned career win No. 689 on Saturday and first with the Blues when he relieved Jake Allen in a come-from-behind 6-4 win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, will look across the ice and see a familiar face in Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, a teammate at the international level with Canada many times.

"I got to play with him in the [Winter] Olympics and World Cup and World Championships," Brodeur said of Luongo. "He's from my hometown back home, St. Leonard [Quebec]. We had the same goalie coach playing Midget AAA. We got a lot of good action.

"He's a good goalie, good guy. I think for him, it was a tough situation in Vancouver and finally went back to Florida. I'm sure he's happy about that."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was reminded of the times Brodeur and Luongo spent as teammates and that there will be an all-Canadian matchup Monday.

"You've got 80 years of matchup," Hitchcock joked, noting Brodeur's (42) and Luongo's (38) respective age. "Never mind the All-Canadian. Two really good friends, two guys that have had a lot of success as a tandem at the international stage.

"Two really interesting guys, easy going, make their teammates really comfortable. Both guys for me have similar personalities. You really can't tell if it's an exhibition game or you're fighting for a gold medal. Both guys seem to have the same disposition about themselves."

The Panthers (11-7-7) will get a boost to their lineup with the return of center Dave Bolland, who missed the past 21 games with a groin injury.

"It's great to be back and be back in the lineup," Bolland said. "It's never fun sitting out watching the guys go and you have losses like that by one goal when you can be out there helping them. It's always heart-wrenching. It sort of screws with your head a little bit when you're watching it."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jonathan Huberdeau - Nick Bjugstad - Tomas Fleischmann

Sean Bergenheim - Jussi Jokinen - Brad Boyes

Brandon Pirri - Vincent Trocheck - Jimmy Hayes

Tomas Kopecky - Dave Bolland - Shawn Thornton

Willie Mitchell - Dmitry Kulikov

Brian Campbell - Aaron Ekblad

Dylan Olsen - Erik Gudbranson

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Scratched: Derek MacKenzie

Injuries: Scottie Upshall (ankle), Aleksander Barkov (hand)


Patrik Berglund - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Steve Ott - Paul Stastny - Joakim Lindstrom

Chris Porter - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Chris Butler - Alex Pietrangelo

Petteri Lindbohm - Kevin Shattenkirk

Barret Jackman - Ian Cole

Martin Brodeur

Jake Allen

Scratched: Magnus Paajarvi

Injured: Alexander Steen (lower body), Brian Elliott (knee), Jay Bouwmeester (groin), Carl Gunnarsson (upper body)

Status report: Steen and Gunnarsson were each ruled out and listed as day-to-day. Hitchcock said an evaluation was forthcoming on Gunnarsson, who took a hit to the head by the Islanders' Anders Lee. ... Barkov was placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 1. ... MacKenzie has had a touch of the flu-bug and could be the odd-man out with Bolland's return Monday.

Who's hot: Lindstrom doubled his season point total (three) with three assists Saturday. ... Berglund has a point in three of four games after having four points in 22 games. ... Shattenkirk had four points in two games. ... Ekblad (four assists) had six points during a four-game point streak. ... Bjugstad has three goals and five points in the past two games.

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