After hearing rumors he might leave the only franchise he's ever played for, Martin Brodeur will be back in net for New Jersey on Saturday night.
The NHL's all-time leader in wins and shutouts will try to help the Devils bounce back from a lackluster performance as they face the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, who will have a quick reunion with recently traded forward Tuomo Ruutu.
When the Devils sent a first-round draft pick to get Cory Schneider from Vancouver this past summer, it seemed to signal the 41-year-old Brodeur's days as New Jersey's stalwart netminder were coming to a close.
The 27-year-old Schneider has five more appearances than Brodeur this season and has started nine of the last 11 games. The team, though, wasn't ready to say goodbye at Wednesday's trade deadline to its three-time Stanley Cup champion and four-time Vezina Trophy winner.
"I don't have many years left and I want to get into the playoffs and get another run," said Brodeur, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. "We're in a position on the outside looking in and I want to be part of the solution on getting into the playoffs."
The Devils (27-24-13) did make one deadline deal in their push to return to the playoffs for the first time since reaching the Cup finals in 2012, picking up Ruutu from Carolina for forward Andrei Loktionov and a third-round pick in 2017.
Ruutu made his debut for New Jersey on Friday but failed to record a point in nearly 14 minutes. The Devils had plenty of trouble at the other end of the ice in their 7-4 loss at Detroit.
The seven goals allowed were a career high for Schneider, and the loss put 11th-place New Jersey four points behind the eighth-place Red Wings in the postseason hunt.
Carolina (27-27-9) is in 13th and eight points behind the Red Wings after a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Friday, their sixth defeat in seven games.
The Hurricanes looked like might earn a second straight victory Friday when Jeff Skinner's penalty shot put the club ahead 2-1 with 7:53 remaining, but they gave up the tying and go-ahead goals in the next 5:07.
"Very frustrated," coach Kirk Muller said. "I thought we did everything we were supposed to do. Having the lead that late you have to be able to hold that off and win the hockey game and we didn't."
Carolina and New Jersey split a two-game series Nov. 27-29, with each team winning on the road. The Hurricanes kicked off that set with a 4-3 win but lost 5-2 in Raleigh.
Brodeur was in net for the home loss and gave up one of those four goals to Ruutu, who has five in 58 games this season to go with 11 assists. Loktionov and Jaromir Jagr had two of the Devils' four third-period goals in the win at Carolina.
Jagr has two goals and two assists in this season's two matchups. His 110 points against the Hurricanes' franchise are his second-most versus any opponent behind his 149 versus the New York Islanders.
Brodeur has played in each of his team's past two home losses to Carolina. He's 27-15-2 with a 1.92 goals-against average in 44 matchups in New Jersey, including 12 in the postseason.