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Martin Brodeur a part-time starting goalie? It could happen

Days have been pretty dark in New Jersey all season long, but today serves to be the wake-up call that times are changing in Newark and that franchise icons don’t always shine forever. Martin Brodeur was chased from his last start against Carolina after just eight minutes giving up three goals on seven shots. Johan Hedberg started the next game against Atlanta, a 3-1 Devils win.

The Devils today said that Hedberg would get the start once again against the Wild tomorrow night, and if you think this is a stunning turn of events you’d be right. Martin Brodeur isn’t injured nor is he playing hurt and if you’re curious about what the future hall of famer thinks of this, his thoughts are rather telling as Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger finds out.

Does Brodeur feel he’s reached that point in his career where he will share the goaltending?

“I think in a season like this probably. In a different season, maybe not,” Brodeur said. “We’ll see how it goes.

“I like to play a lot and that will never change. But it’s got to be fun for me to play hockey. Not winning is not fun. So if we get back to winning I’ll play more. I don’t deserve to be in there when you don’t win. That’s the bottom line. I’ve been winning all my career and now it’s been a little tougher. So it’s normal. If this works, good. It helps out the team.”

Brodeur has always been a team guy and it’s not as if he’s ever had to beg to start a game. Throughout his career, Brodeur has been a workhorse in goal, sometimes playing upwards of 70 games in a regular season, including last year when he played in 77 games. Seven times in his career Brodeur has lead the league in minutes played. For years fans and media alike have clamored for Brodeur to get more of a break to have him better prepared for the playoffs.

The not-so secret facts behind this move for the time being are simple: Brodeur has been a very average goalie. While the defensive corps in front of him have been a mix of very young and very mediocre guys, Brodeur hasn’t been able to help bail them out the way he used to. While Brodeur’s record is poor, his personal stats are alarming. A goals against average of 3.15 is like something out of the 1980s and his .882 save percentage is downright poor. This isn’t the same Brodeur we’re accustomed to seeing and this time, we might just have to accept that he getting older, a truth that some fans might be a bit sad about realizing.

For now though, Jacques Lemaire is riding the hot hand to try and spark his bumbling and inconsistent team. If that’s what it takes to get the Devils playing well again and reinvigorate Brodeur’s season, then it’s not the worst move that could be made. If it turns out to be the first sign that Marty Brodeur is about to turn into an old goalie in front of our eyes, then this is a downer. Whether you’ve appreciated his career or not, there are zero doubts about how great he’s been over his career and seeing a legend on the downside of their career isn’t quite as fun.

Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 15: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shares a laugh with teammate Antti Raanta #32 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 in NHL action on November 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.

Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand.

Update: Here’s how the standings look after the Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

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For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

That’s impressive stuff.

This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

Oh yeah, don’t forget about Jake Allen, either.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Update: The Wild were able to shake off that goal, ultimately beating the Oilers 3-2 via a shootout.