Out for last month, Martin Brodeur says he's starting Thursday

Marty will finally be back on the ice instead of the bench Thursday. (Getty Images)
Marty will finally be back on the ice instead of the bench on Thursday. (Getty Images)

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The New Jersey Devils will finally have a familiar face back in net on Thursday night. Martin Brodeur will be making the start.

At least that's what Marty says. Brodeur announced the news himself on Wednesday, saying he'll be the one leading the team onto the ice when they play at Carolina.

Boy, how they have missed Brodeur. Going into the game, the Devils find themselves sitting on the outside of the playoffs, tied with their rivals across the Hudson in Manhattan and battling with their rivals from Long Island.

That fall coincided with Brodeur's absence. The last time that he played was on Feb. 21, a 3-2 win in Washington. On that day, the Devils were 10-3-4, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Atlantic Division.

Atlantic Division standings on Feb. 21. (NHL.com)
Atlantic Division standings on Feb. 21. (NHL.com)

They are now 14 back of Pittsburgh and tied with the Rangers.

Atlantic Division standings on March 20. (NHL.com)
Atlantic Division standings on March 20. (NHL.com)

In total, the Devils went 3-8-2 between Brodeur starts, all games started by Johan Hedberg. And two of those three wins required a shootout. In other words, they missed Marty. A lot.

Brodeur, 40, is hardly the goaltender that he used to be at this point in his career, but he is certainly still a key player for the Devils. Consider than before his back injury, Brodeur was 8-2-2 with a 2.27 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. Hedberg, on the other hand, has a 2.73 goals against average and an .886 save percentage. That's a pretty big gap.

Will Brodeur be the difference and get them back to their winning ways? Perhaps, perhaps not. It could be about more than just the goaltending. But it can't hurt to get arguably the greatest goaltender to ever play the game back in your net.

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