Hedberg steps up in place of Brodeur

NEWARK, N.J. -- As he sat at his locker stall, removing his equipment after making 20 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils backup goaltender Johan Hedberg received congratulations from one of his teammates.

“Good job,” injured starter Martin Brodeur said, before closing the door that separates the locker room from the players' only area behind him.

Brodeur may have been out with a knee sprain, but with Hedberg in net, the Devils didn’t miss a beat between the pipes.

“[There’s] always gonna be situations where one goaltender goes down, and there’s gonna be someone else that’s gotta step up,” said Hedberg, who earned his first win since Jan. 22. “But I don’t think I had to do that much tonight. And hopefully we can just keep building here.”

“He was good tonight,” interim coach Jacques Lemaire said of Hedberg, who rebounded after allowing a soft, sharp-angle goal to Hurricanes 18-year-old rookie Jeff Skinner in the second period.

The Devils are now 10-1-2 in their last 13 games, and despite being 15 points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Hedberg believes the team’s confidence is as high as it’s been all season.

“Probably,” Hedberg said. “[Our] confidence is definitely stronger today than it was a couple months ago, and for all the right reasons. I think we’re playing the right way. We understand what we need to do to be successful, and we’ve got a strong effort every night, which gives us a chance to win.”

Still, Hedberg knows that if the Devils are going to somehow make the postseason, they’re going to have to take it one game at a time. New Jersey has 28 tilts remaining to make up what seems like impossible ground.

“The two points are great, but I don’t think we can look too far ahead and look what other teams are doing,” Hedberg said. We have to shoot for our own record, and if it’s enough in the end, that’s great. But I don’t think we can get too far ahead. But we have a lot of confidence and there’s a lot of belief in the room.”