He is, without question, a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play.
But Martin Brodeur is also obviously slowing down, and at age 39, continues to sit among the league bottom feeders in various categories, including a .879 save percentage that is very un-Brodeur-like.
Brodeur's expected to make his 14th start of the season Tuesday night in Toronto and is hoping to fare a whole lot better than he did in his last meeting with the Maple Leafs.
Back on Nov. 2, he allowed five goals - with at least a couple of them being questionable - in a 5-3 loss. Brodeur is 5-5-0 since that point but has lost three games in a row in regulation, including his last start in Minnesota where he was pulled after eight minutes and three goals against.
He seemed in good spirits in the dressing room after the morning skate, but it's got to be an awfully hard adjustment given as recently as 2010 he had a 45 win season and looked like he would play forever.
“I think it is the way I’ve been playing,” Brodeur said of his numbers. “Teams have scored a lot of goals against me. That’s something that, hopefully, will change in the near future because we need to win and in this league if you allow more than three goals a game, it’s going to be hard to win hockey games.”
Tom Gulitti has more on Brodeur's recent struggles here.
As for the Devils, they've lost four in a row after a decent 12-8-1 start and are going to be a little desperate in this one. Toronto currently sits seven points ahead of them but with two more games played.
It's probably safe to say New Jersey is one of the teams the Leafs will have to beat out to make it into the playoffs, and they've accomplished that to date.
Toronto netminder James Reimer, meanwhile, makes his first start at home since a win over Winnipeg way back on the fifth game of the season.
"I'm excited to play back in front of the hometown fans," Reimer told reporters in New York. "There might be a little bit more nerves than normal."
- Coming off a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Monday, the Leafs flew home overnight and the few players who were on the ice for the morning skate (Aulie, Orr, etc.) are unlikely to be in the lineup. As Ron Wilson took the morning off, we won't have official updates on who's in and out until closer to game time (about 5 p.m.), but I've posted the likely roster below.
- The Devils lineup is available here, courtesy of the whiteboard in the dressing room. (Bus leaves at 12:30.)
- The only member of the Leafs who did talk with the media Tuesday was injured winger Colby Armstrong, who has been skating a couple times now and is getting closer to a return from a high ankle sprain. He'll miss his 23rd game against the Devils, however.
"Hopefully next game I can pray to get in there," Armstrong said. "It's always tough. Since I've been here I've had some bad luck with some injuries."
Leafs projected lineup
Lupul - Bozak - Kessel MacArthur - Connolly - Frattin Kulemin - Grabovski - Crabb Colborne - Steckel - Dupuis
Gunnarsson - Phaneuf Gardiner - Schenn Liles - Franson