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Devils to face Sabres without Brodeur

by Mike G. Morreale
NEWARK, N.J. -- If the New Jersey Devils are to celebrate a victory on home ice at Prudential Center on Wednesday, they'll do so with back-up goalie Johan Hedberg between the pipes.

Martin Brodeur sat out his fourth straight practice Wednesday with a bruised right elbow as his team made final preparations for its game Wednesday night against the Buffalo Sabres. The All-Star goalie was working out with teammate Matthew Corrente on the Devils' practice rink, however.

The injury has opened the door for Hedberg, who could use a boost in confidence. Not only is the veteran goalie 1-2-0 with a 5.07 goals-against average and .824 save percentage in four games this season, but he allowed four goals on only 15 shots in a 6-1 loss to Buffalo on Oct. 23.

Obviously, it was a game Hedberg would rather forget.

"Have I played against them?" he asked. "Yeah, I know. That wasn't the game I wanted to have. At the same time, I can't focus on what happened before. Two points are huge, and besides that, it really doesn't matter what happened before."

Hedberg is just hoping to help his team notch its fifth win of the season and first at home.

"We recognize the situation we're in with our home record (0-5-1)," Hedberg said. "We're the only people who can get ourselves out of this. We're going to have to come up with the big plays and that can help get us going. We need to be consistent and better.

"There's no more pressure on me than usual. I think there's always pressure on the goalie no matter the situation you're in. It doesn't change anything. If I'm on the ice, I want to win. This game means a lot, but it's not like I'm going to work harder tonight than I would any other night."

Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder knows the team must do a better job in front of Hedberg this time around.

"We got killed in that last game, 6-1," Tallinder said. "That's embarrassing. We want to play a way better game than that. We need to try and help (Hedberg) a little more. He didn't get much help when he played last time. We need a solid team effort to win this."

Hedberg won't be the only backup goalie playing Wednesday.

With Buffalo starter Ryan Miller sidelined with a sore leg muscle and Patrick Lalime battling illness, coach Lindy Ruff will turn to his third option -- rookie Jhonas Enroth. The 22-year-old Swede earned his first NHL victory Saturday in a 3-2 shootout win against Toronto.

Enroth rebounded nicely against the Maple Leafs after getting the hook in the first period three nights earlier against Boston after yielding three goals in the opening 20 minutes of his season debut -- an eventual 3-2 loss.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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