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Weekes gets his day in the Devils' net

by Dan Rosen /
Could the Kevin Weekes era be starting in New Jersey tonight?

Not likely, but the Devils' backup goalie will start his first game of the season Monday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS) against the Buffalo Sabres because Martin Brodeur has been ruled out with an injured left elbow.

Brodeur suffered what the team is calling an elbow bruise during Saturday's 6-1 win against the Atlanta Thrashers. He underwent an X-ray and an MRI on Sunday, but the Devils did not make the results available by Monday afternoon.

Brodeur made 5 saves Saturday before leaving 6:38 into the second period. It was enough to earn career victory No. 544, leaving him 7 shy of Patrick Roy's all-time mark of 551.

This will be the first time Brodeur hasn't started for the Devils since Jan. 8, a streak of 56 consecutive games, including playoffs. Weekes made 14 saves Saturday in relief of Brodeur. Scott Clemmensen was called up from Lowell of the American Hockey League to be Weekes' backup.

The Devils next play Wednesday at home against Tampa Bay, but Brodeur's status remains unknown.

"Martin Brodeur's situation is status quo," Devils coach Brent Sutter told reporters at the morning skate. "He's day to day and (GM) Lou (Lamoriello) will update you further as we go along once we find out more. It depends on how Marty is feeling."

The Devils and Sabres kick off a light night in the NHL, with only 3 games on the docket. The Columbus Blue Jackets play at the New York Islanders, and Joel Quenneville's old team comes into town to play his new team as the Colorado Avalanche visit the Chicago Blackhawks.

Here is what you should be watching for:

* Brodeur is hardly the only wounded Devil. Defenseman Paul Martin won't play tonight because of "upper-body soreness," according to Sutter. Rookie Anssi Salmela was recalled from Lowell to play in Martin's place.

* The Devils' infirmary list now includes Brodeur and Martin as well as Bobby Holik (broken right pinkie), Brian Rolston (high right ankle sprain), Andy Greene (broken right hand) and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (cracked orbital bone).

* The Devils won't have a healthy scratch tonight.

* The good for New Jersey fans is Zach Parise is going for a team-record. Parise has scored a goal in 6 straight games; four players in Devils history have scored goals in 6 games, most recently Holik in 1998. Parise has 7 goals during his streak.

* If you're hoping to avoid taking the trash out tonight by watching the Devils and Sabres, you may be in luck. Considering all 4 meetings between the two teams went to a shootout last season (Devils won 3), it may be time for bed by the time this game ends.

* Ryan Miller sports a League-leading 1.82 goals-against average, but history suggests that number will go up at least slightly tonight. The Sabres goalie is 3-6-3 with a 2.52 GAA in 12 career games against the Devils.

* Sabres left wing Clarke McArthur already is more than halfway to his point total of last season. Through 11 games, McArthur has 8 points on 5 goals and 3 assists. In 37 games last season, he had 15 points on 8 goals and 7 assists.

* Thomas Vanek has 14 points in 11 games this season, but only 2 points in 12 career games against New Jersey.

* According to the Columbus Dispatch, Fredrik Modin will be back in the Blue Jackets lineup Monday against the Islanders after missing 6 games with a groin injury. The newspaper also reported that R.J. Umberger likely will be the top-line center again, between right wing Kristian Huselius and left wing Rick Nash, who tried his hand at center last week but lasted only a handful of shifts.

* The Blue Jackets' third line Monday could be Michael Peca between left wing Raffi Torres and Modin. Those three have combined to miss 21 games already this season due to injury or suspension.

* Speaking of line combinations, the news out of Long Island is that rookie Kyle Okposo likely will skate on the left wing on the Islanders' top line Monday with veterans Bill Guerin and Doug Weight. According to Newsday, Isles coach Scott Gordon is looking for more offense from his top line. Okposo has 3 points and a minus-5 rating in 10 games this season.

* The Islanders have lost 6 in a row, going 0-5-1 in the stretch. They haven't won since beating Tampa Bay, 4-3 in overtime, on Oct. 16.

* It should be an interesting night for Joel Quenneville in Chicago as a team he knows very well comes to town to play his Blackhawks. Quenneville spent the last 3 seasons coaching the Avalanche before leaving the team this summer. Good news for Coach Q -- his Hawks are 4-1-2 since he took over for Denis Savard, while Tony Granato, who replaced Quenneville with the Avalanche, is on a 3-game losing streak and is 5-6-0 this season.

* Eleven games have passed and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews still is searching for his first goal of the season. Toews, who scored 24 goals last season, has 6 assists and netted the shootout winner Saturday against Columbus.

* Judging by the goalie rotation system going on in Chicago, Monday will be Nikolai Khabibulin's turn in net. Khabibulin hasn't fared so well against the Avalanche in his career -- he's 10-16-0, with 1 tie, and a 3.05 GAA in 27 appearances.

* Look for Peter Budaj to be in Colorado's net Monday after being on the wrong end of a 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday in Denver. Budaj is 3-5 with a 3.13 GAA this season.

* Paul Stastny has at least a point in 9 of 11 games this season. He went back-to-back games without a point (Oct. 25-28), but has a goal and an assist in his last 2 games, giving him 3 goals and 10 assists. He had 9 assists in the first 6 games.

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