On the morning after Martin Brodeur became the NHL's all-time leader in wins and Patrik Elias became the Devils' all-time leader in point, only three Devils skated at RBC Center --goaltender Kevin Weekes, defenseman Andy Greene and left wing Jay Pandolfo.
Brodeur will not play tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes after starting nine consecutive games since returning on Feb. 26 from a torn biceps tendon. That will mean Weekes will make his first start since Feb. 19 in Tampa Bay.
Also, Greene will get back in the Devils' lineup tonight after being a healthy scratch for five consecutive games since Niclas Havelid joined the team. Greene will fill in for Colin White, who remained in New Jersey after sitting out the final two periods Tuesday with a lower body injury.
Pandolfo will be a healthy scratch again tonight.
Weekes has won five consecutive starts -- his last loss came on Dec. 13 vs. Buffalo -- and, though it's not great for a goaltender, he seems to have gotten used to playing after long layoffs. He did get some work on March 7 against the Islanders when he replaced Brodeur after two periods in a 7-3 loss to the Islanders, but faced only one shot in that one period.
"It's never an ideal situation for a goalie," Weekes said this morning of the nearly four-week layoff. "It's like golf. The more you play the better you feel. But it does help that I've been through this situation before along the way."
The signs all pointed to Weekes starting tonight regardless of what happened Tuesday. Weekes said he "wasn't necessarily thinking one way or another."
"You just to be ready," he said. "Obviously our schedule is pretty tight right now with all of the games that we have (five in seven days) and Marty has played all of the games since he's come back. So, I just try to be ready and it turns out I am playing today."
Greene has not played since March 3 in Toronto. He knew he might be the odd man out when Havelid was acquired from Atlanta on March 2.
"You knew once it happened, someone was sitting out, but, at the same time, I've got to be ready," Greene said. "You have to be ready for situations like this when something happens. You've just got to take practices and work that much harder and be mentally ready when they need you."
Devils coach Brent Sutter did not go to the arena this morning. I will post comments from him before tonight's game.