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Martin Brodeur's streak of starting 18 consecutive season openers for the New Jersey Devils will come to an end Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
|For the first time in nearly two decades, Martin Brodeur won't be in goal for a Devils season opener.|
Brodeur was initially expected to get the nod, but because he spent four days away from the team last week following the death of his father, Denis, the plans changed. In a somewhat surprising move, coach Pete DeBoer has opted to start Cory Schneider in Pittsburgh because New Jersey begins its season with games on back-to-back nights. The Devils open at home Friday against the New York Islanders.
DeBoer said he felt Brodeur could use an extra day to prepare, and the 41-year-old veteran agreed. The future Hall of Famer appeared in only two preseason games and knew he wouldn't be playing both games, regardless.
"I know I was not going to play both, so I'm all for it," Brodeur said, according to The Bergen Record. "I haven't seen much action in the preseason, so it's kind of nice to be able to get a game day and get on the ice and be on the bench and look at the speed of different things. I think that's going to help me out for my game."
Schneider, who was acquired in a splash of a draft-day trade with the Vancouver Canucks, is eager to make an impression with his new club. The 27-year-old goaltender, who split time with Canucks veteran Roberto Luongo last season, had a strong camp and hopes to build on that Thursday against Sidney Crosby & Co.
"Anytime you get to start the opener for your team, it's a big honor and a privilege," Schneider said, according to The Record. "It's going to be a tough one right off the bat with Pittsburgh, so I'm really looking forward to it."
In another move, the Devils activated veteran forward Patrik Elias off injured reserve, and he is expected to play in Pittsburgh. Also Thursday, the Washington Capitals claimed Devils defenseman Alexander Urbom off waivers.