NEWARK, NJ Future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur will miss the Sharks game in New Jersey on Friday with a bruised right shoulder. Consequently, Devils backup Johan Hedberg will make his fourth start of the season.
Oddly, its the third time in five games the Sharks will face the designated backup goaltender. It hasnt made a difference in the first two, though, as St. Louis Brian Elliott and Anaheims Dan Ellis both posted impressive wins against San Jose.
Whomever is manning the crease isnt of much concern to the Sharks as they try and right the ship after losing three of their first four.
Right now were focused on our game and getting our game going. We cant really focus too much on whos in net, said Patrick Marleau, after Thursdays practice at the Prudential Center. We still have to get lots of shots and lots of traffic and go for second chances. All goalies are really good in this league, whether its backup or starter. It doesnt change the game plan all that much.
Hedberg isnt exactly a fresh-faced youngster who was just recalled from the minors. The 38-year-old journeyman has 330 games of NHL experience under his belt, including 34 last season as Brodeur battled a bruised elbow and sprained MCL.
In three games this year, Hedberg is 3-0 with a 1.41 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. Furthermore, he stopped 31 shots in a 2-1 Devils win here last February 11.
Weve faced backups so far this year and theyve beat us, said Logan Couture. We played Marty last year in San Jose and we beat him, and then we had Hedberg here and he played great against us.
Were playing the Devils, its just a single player.
McLellan echoed the sentiments of his players, saying the depth of goaltending around the league now is as good as its ever been. Starter or backup, youre still facing an NHL netminder.
Im not so sure that there is the standard starter and backup scenario with a lot of teams anymore, he said. The number two, if you will, has the ability to come in for a month straight and win a bunch of games. The goaltenders are that good and theres that much depth in the league.
I think their team is just as confident playing in front of Hedberg as anybody else.