By: Adam Gretz
Martin Brodeur returned to the New Jersey Devils lineup on Wednesday night after missing the past six games due to injury, and it was not one of the best nights of his Hall of Fame career. Through two periods Brodeur had surrendered five goals on just 11 shots to the Toronto Maple Leafs, including a hat trick for Joffrey Lupul. Obviously, there was some rust to shake off.
For as much as he struggled over the first 40 minutes, the Devils stuck with Brodeur to open the third and he ended up making an outstanding stick save on Phil Kessel, robbing him of what would have been his league-leading 11th goal of the season.
That's probably one of the first breaks that didn't go Kessel's way this season. And while he was held off the scoresheet on that particular play, he did add to his league-leading point total with an assist on two of Lupul's goals.
For Brodeur, it was the highlight of an otherwise forgettable game. It's hard not to be a prisoner of the moment and make a kneejerk reaction based on the first game back from an injury, but given his struggles last season, as well as the strong play of Johan Hedberg in his absence, you have to wonder if Hedberg shouldn't continue to get more starts even with the return of Brodeur.