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Devils may be minus Brodeur for matchup vs. Blues

by Brian Hunter
DEVILS (5-12-2) at BLUES (10-5-3)


Last 10:
New Jersey 3-6-1; St. Louis 5-4-1

Season series: This is the only meeting between these clubs for the 2010-11 season. They last met in New Jersey on March 20, with Ty Conklin stopping all 29 shots he faced and Alexander Steen scoring with 13 seconds left in the first period in a 1-0 win for St. Louis.

Big story: Will the Devils once again be without the services of goaltender Martin Brodeur? While the possibility still existed he could rejoin the team in St. Louis on Saturday, the indication seemed to be Brodeur won't play after the team recalled Mike McKenna under emergency conditions Friday. Brodeur came out of New Jersey's 3-1 loss in Toronto on Thursday after re-aggravating the right elbow injury he originally suffered against Chicago earlier this month. He flew home with GM Lou Lamoriello and had the elbow examined on Friday.

Team Scope:

Devils: Not even facing a similarly struggling team Thursday could shake New Jersey from its funk. Playing in Toronto against a Maple Leafs squad that had won just two of its previous 14 games, the Devils fell behind by two goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second period and managed only a Dainius Zubrus score in a 3-1 defeat. After scoring four goals in back-to-back games against the Sabres and Oilers, the Zubrus goal is all they've managed in two games since.

"It's tough to win hockey games when you don't score goals," forward Adam Mair said. "We've been shut out now three times in our last six games and we only got one tonight, so we've got to find a way to generate more offense."

Blues: A five-game losing streak dropped St. Louis from the Central Division lead following a 9-1-2 start to the season, but the Blues got back to their winning ways Friday by using a three-goal second-period burst to topple the visiting Senators by a 5-2 score. David Backes set up goals by Brad Boyes and Carlo Colaiacovo, then Eric Brewer scored all in an 86-second span. Conklin had a fairly easy night, finishing with 18 saves.

"It's been a long time. I guess I better get more familiar with everything," said Brewer, who hadn't scored since April 9 and at first forgot to skate past his bench to get congratulations from his teammates. "The main thing is we got the win and we really needed it. It kind of stopped the madness. Now, it's upward and onward."

Who's hot:
Alexander Vasyunov has his first NHL goal and a pair of assists in the last four games, and the Devils liked what they've seen enough to have him on a line with Zubrus and fellow Russian Ilya Kovalchuk against the Maple Leafs.

Boyes has goals in four consecutive games for the Blues and 6 points during that span. Andy McDonald (3-6-9), Patrik Berglund (1-7-8) and Backes (2-4-6) all have five-game points streaks going. Colaiacovo has 2 goals and 2 assists in the last three games.

Injury report:
Brodeur joins captain Jamie Langenbrunner (neck) and defenseman Matt Taormina (ankle) as day-to-day for New Jersey. Forwards Zach Parise (knee) and Jacob Josefson (hand) and defensemen Bryce Salvador (concussion), Anssi Salmela (knee) and Mark Fraser (hand) are on injured reserve.

St. Louis forward David Perron is out indefinitely with a concussion. Forward TJ Oshie (ankle) and defensemen Roman Polak (wrist) and Barret Jackman (knee) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack:
After going 0-for-2 in Toronto, the Devils' power play is now 1-for-36 on the road this season. … The Blues have won all six games they've played against Eastern Conference opponents this season and 11 straight since a Jan. 21 loss to the Senators. They're also 7-0-1 on home ice this season and 13-0-1 since a March 21 loss to the Predators.

Puck drop:
While the status of Brodeur is in question, it seems likely Jaroslav Halak will be back between the pipes for St. Louis on Saturday. After getting off to a scorching start, Halak is 0-3-1 in his last four games, getting pulled in Columbus and giving up 13 goals in back-to-back losses against Colorado and Detroit.

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