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Brodeur, Rolston back in, Langenbrunner out

by Mike G. Morreale
NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will return between the pipes Friday against the Edmonton Oilers after missing the last two games while recovering from a bruised right elbow.
The two-game absence was the longest for Brodeur since being sidelined for 50 games during the 2008-09 season when he needed surgery to repair a torn biceps muscle in his left arm.
Brodeur, 38, practiced with the team Thursday for the first time since being injured Nov. 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks. He declared himself ready to go following Friday's morning skate.
"It's a bruise," Brodeur told the media. "It's a little tender, but moving-wise, I'm doing stuff I need to do to be able to perform and I feel all right. I pretty much can do everything. I feel it once in a while, but that's the tenderness of the arm. I'm good enough to shoot the puck, play the puck, poke check; it's been all right, no problem."
Brodeur also had an extra six-inch pad stitched to the arm area on his equipment.
"It's a little cushion where the bruise is," he said. "You can't put a lot since the bruise is in the joint and you're moving so you can't add too much padding because it's going to limit your flexibility."
While Brodeur and forward Brian Rolston, who missed the previous 14 games after undergoing sports hernia surgery Oct. 14, will make their returns to the lineup, the Devils will have to carry on without Jaime Langenbrunner (upper-body injury). The Devils' captain still is feeling the effects of going head-first into the boards during the second period of a 5-4 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. Langenbrunner did finish that game and even scored a goal, but he has experienced some stiffness the past two days.
"Jamie is still sore with an upper-body issue after he went in awkwardly (against Buffalo)," Devils coach John MacLean said. "We'll give him another day here."
In Langenbrunner's absence, MacLean will have Travis Zajac centering for Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Vasyunov, who has been playing inspired hockey recently.
"Vas and Travis played well together last game and it just so happens to work out that way for tonight," MacLean said. "Vas can be a contributor if he uses his strength and skating ability. That's what we're looking for."
Brodeur also is hoping the team finally gets its first home win. The Devils are 15th in the Eastern Conference, partly because of their miserable record at Prudential Center (0-5-2).
"I think when you play all year long to have an effect on home ice, you must take advantage," Brodeur said. "You play to get yourself into the playoffs and have home-ice advantage, so you need to feel comfortable playing at home and that hasn't been the case. It's definitely something we're not happy about, but today is a new day and we're playing a team that is struggling, too. We have to jump on them as quick as we can. They have young talent so we can't give them any more excitement."
Oilers rookie Taylor Hall was asked if he was happy Brodeur is healthy enough to be back in net against his team.
"He's probably one of the greatest goalies to ever play the game, but it's not really what I want to think about," he said. "I want to do the best I can to help my team, but obviously playing against a guy like that it's going to be neat."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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