NEW YORK (AP) — The biggest decision New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer had to make heading into his club's game at Yankee Stadium was whether to go with his surefire Hall of Fame goalie or the guy who has been hot lately.
Once Martin Brodeur got the starting nod, the longtime No. 1 New Jersey netminder had to figure out just how many layers of clothing to wear in the cold and snow. He was warmer than expected Saturday and planned to shed a few layers for Sunday's game against the New York Rangers.
Even though Cory Schneider has been on quite a roll, DeBoer is turning to Brodeur, the face of the franchise for the better part of two decades. No one was surprised by the choice, not even Schneider, who is 5-1-2 with a 0.96 goals-against average and .961 save percentage in eight starts dating to Dec. 28.
Still, DeBoer turned to Brodeur.
"It really is an easy decision from a right thing to do perspective," he said. "His career, 20 years with the Devils, what he's done, and he's played some excellent hockey for us this year."
Brodeur was reluctant to talk about his legacy and what he has accomplished with the Devils.
"I want to deserve to play because of the way I play now, not what I did in the past," the 41-year-old Brodeur said. "I'm happy to play a game. It's been a while. It's been over a week."
Brodeur understands the significance of taking part in an outdoor game, especially this one in such a historic place. Brodeur has played in only two of New Jersey's past eight games — winning one and losing one.
"I don't make the decision. I would have accepted it one way or the other," Brodeur said. "We're in a situation that sometimes we get these games that mean a lot to different people for different reasons. I guess they felt it meant a lot to me, and they put me in."
The decision was even easier at the other end of Yankee Stadium where Rangers coach Alain Vigneault went with his unquestioned No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist, instead of young backup Cam Talbot, who has had a fine season.
Lundqvist has experience with playing outside — having backstopped the Rangers' victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia two years ago. He also knows Yankee Stadium a bit, having attended ballgames there, but the big ballpark in the Bronx never looked like this in the summer.
"It was very special to walk out there today, but I think tomorrow when you hear the crowd ... you get goose bumps," he said. "It's a feeling you're looking for when you play the game. It gives you a lot of adrenaline.
"You try to enjoy that moment, but at the same time you need to be focused on what we have to do. It's an important game for both teams, and that makes it even more special."
Lundqvist also said he felt warm on the ice. The high temperature Sunday is expected to be around 20, a bit chillier than Saturday, but under sunny skies. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m., so there is a good chance it will be played during the warmest part of the day.
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