Martin Brodeur won't be on the ice tonight. The rest of the New Jersey Devils will.
That's the approach the Canes are taking for tonight's game at the RBC Center: expect the best from one of the Eastern Conference's best teams, despite Brodeur's absence.
To be sure, it was an emotional night Tuesday in Newark as Brodeur became the all-time leader in goaltender victories with 552, passing Patrick Roy. Devils coach Brent Sutter said after the 3-2 win over Chicago that Kevin Weekes would start tonight, giving Brodeur a day to rest and reflect.
“I guess the feeling is that with a lot of other teams you would expect a certain drop-off because of the emotions, except New Jersey is not built like that,” Maurice said after today's morning skate. “They’ll take pride in the fact that there won’t be, and I’m sure that’s what they’ll be talking about coming on the ice.”
As for Weekes, he's 7-4-0 with a 2.27 GAA and .924 save percentage this season. He also helped the Canes reach the 2002 Stanley Cup final under then-coach Paul Maurice, so he's no stranger to the Hurricanes or the RBC Center.
"I've seen Kevin play some great hockey in this building and I think he's a real capable goaltender," Maurice said. "We've seen what the Devils do when their backup goaltender goes in.
"I guess you can't say there's no advantage, because it's Marty Brodeur coming out. But they'll get very good goaltending and they'll play an excellent team game tonight."
And the Canes will have two other chances to see Brodeur. Because of the NHL's baffling scheduling, the Canes must play the Devils three times in their last 11 games, with the final two in New Jersey.
“But I don’t know that there is an advantage in the schedule when you see teams like Tampa and Atlanta winning games," Maurice said.