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Brodeur leaves with bruised right elbow

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO - The New Jersey Devils got a rare win and a big scare on Wednesday night.

Goaltender Martin Brodeur had to leave the game early in the second period with a bruised right elbow after stopping a shot by Chicago's Patrick Kane. Backup Johan Hedberg couldn't hold the 2-0 lead he inherited, but he got the win as New Jersey beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks 5-3.

Brodeur tried to stay in the game after being hit by Kane's 10-foot rip, but he had to come out because he couldn't hold his stick.

"It was a stinger," he said in the locker room after the game. "Hit me, not on the funny bone, but right on the nerves that are connected there and just kind of lost all strength that I had in my hand, so I couldn't hold my stick. I tried. I went to play the puck and it was just weak.

"The feeling was always there. I never lost anything. It was just kind of weak, my grip is weak and stuff when I hold my stick. I'm able to hold a bottle of water, so I'm fine for now."

The Devils, who are just 4-9-1 despite the victory, said X-rays were negative -- but Brodeur didn't return.

"This time we did all the X-rays and everything is fine," he said. "It's not like it was pulled or torn or anything. It was just kind of ... banged it. It happens a lot, but it's pretty rare it happens in a game."

Brodeur said he's uncertain about playing in Friday night's home game against the New York Rangers.

"From past experience on big bruises like that, it usually it takes me a couple days to feel 100 percent," he said, "but we'll see how this one reacts."

Play was stopped at 5:27 of the second period for Devils trainers to take a look at Brodeur's right arm after he stopped Kane's blast from the lower left circle just below the numbers on his sleeve. Brodeur, playing in his sixth straight game, tried to continue but left the net at the next whistle, 21 seconds later, and headed for the locker room.

"Usually you get hit, it hurts and it goes away," he said. "It went away, but when I grabbed my stick I went to go make a play behind the net. I just didn't have the strength to hold my stick. I just thought it was better off to get (Hedberg) in there."

The Devils are already dealing with injury problems -- including knee surgery on Tuesday that will keep forward Zach Parise sidelined up to three months.

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