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Devils to start Brodeur in crucial game vs. Red Wings

by Mike G. Morreale

RED WINGS (28-20-12) at DEVILS (26-23-13)


Last 10: Detroit 6-2-2; New Jersey 4-4-2

Season series: This is the second of three games between the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils, and the first of two encounters this week. The Red Wings claimed a 3-1 win against the Devils on Dec. 6 at Prudential Center. The teams will meet again Friday at Joe Louis Arena.

Big story: Martin Brodeur will start for the Devils less than 24 hours before the NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday. It's a crucial game for the Devils after their two-game, post-Olympics win streak was snapped Sunday by the San Jose Sharks. The Devils trail the Red Wings by three points for the second and final wild card playoff berth, but Detroit has played two fewer games.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: General manager Ken Holland has admitted he will not make a splash prior to the trade deadline unless it's a "trade that affects your team going into next season."

Detroit, which enters Tuesday having won two in a row, is in a similar position prior to this year's deadline as it was last season; missing several core players heading down the stretch. The Red Wings are expected to get captain Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery) just in time for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but first they have to get there.

"We had some unrestricted free agents last year," Holland told Detroit's website. "We weren't a buyer, we weren't a seller, I felt if we could just get out team together we could play our way in, which we did. Other than Zetterberg, for the most part we're healthy. We're probably the healthiest we've been since early December."

Devils: Will Brodeur be trading places prior to the trade deadline? If it does happen, this would be the 41-year-old Brodeur's final home game wearing a Devils jersey in the Garden State. Brodeur beat the Islanders 6-1 on Saturday in his first start in more than a month.

Cory Schneider made 18 saves in the loss to the Sharks on Sunday, his eighth start in nine games, and dipped to 12-12-9 for the season. He allowed more than two goals for just the second time in the past 17 games. At this time of the year, coach Peter DeBoer knows the Devils need to regroup quickly with the regular season entering the home stretch.

"You've got to have a short-term memory this time of year," DeBoer said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win [Sunday], we didn't and we've got to regroup and be ready for Tuesday because they're all big."

Who's hot: Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has three goals, five points and a plus-4 rating in the past two games. His three-goal game against the Senators was his first hat trick since Nov. 8, 2011. … Devils forward Adam Henrique has four goals in three games since the Olympic break. Forward Patrik Elias has two goals and four assists over that span.

Injury report: Zetterberg (back) is out for Detroit, as are forwards Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee). It was thought Weiss would return Tuesday but he had a setback. … New Jersey captain Bryce Salvador (collarbone) and right wing Damien Brunner (leg) each missed his second straight game on Sunday.

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