Rangers, Devils take to the Bronx for NHL’s Stadium Series
In his 20th season with the New Jersey Devils, there is not much left for Martin Brodeur to accomplish.
The Hall of Famer in waiting is merely the NHL’s all-time leader in games played, minutes played, saves, wins and shutouts. And then there is the matter of the three Stanley Cups he was the Devils’ backstop.
The Montreal native has experienced a great deal in his career. But on Sunday he will do something he has never had the opportunity to do as a professional: He will play in his first outdoors game.
“I’ve never done it and I don’t know what to expect,” Brodeur said.
The Devils will host the Rangers Sunday afternoon in the first of two Stadium Series games this week at Yankee Stadium.
The Stadium Series games mark the first time the NHL has selected the Devils and Islanders to participate in an outdoor game. The Rangers played in the Jan. 2, 2012, Winter Classic game in Philadelphia, where they beat the Flyers 3-2.
“The whole thing was kind of awesome,” Brian Boyle said. “‘HBO [24/7]’ was a blast. Keeping up with the series, watching the TV shows, that was fun. It was a beautiful day out, everyone was there see it. [It was] something new that I’ve never experienced before. It was awesome.”
The teams will have practices at Yankee Stadium in order to get accustomed to the rink and conditions. Both the Devils and Rangers will skate Saturday, while the Islanders will skate Tuesday.
“That’s why for me and [Cory Schneider] the practice [Saturday afternoon] will be really important for us just to get used to everything,” Brodeur said, specifically noting the weather and lighting as key factors.
According to weather reports, it is expected to be 22 degrees and partly cloudy on Sunday, which should limit the glare from the sunlight reflecting off the ice.
“We’ll have an idea what to expect,” Brodeur said.
What is still to be determined is which goaltender will start for the Devils Sunday. Pete DeBoer said the Devils are taking their goaltending situation “day-to-day,” but noted sentimentality could be factored into his decision-making process, as Sunday’s game could be the only time the 41-year old Brodeur has an opportunity to play in an outdoors game as a professional.
Schneider, 27, is 8-9-7 this season with a .926 save percentage, 1.88 goals against average and three shutouts in 24 games. Brodeur is 13-10-4 in 27 games with a .905 save percentage, 2.36 GAA and three shutouts.
“Just to be part of it is going to be fun,” Brodeur said. “It’s probably the last chance I have to play in one of those so I’ll definitely enjoy it regardless of what happens. My family will be there and we’ll take it in stride and enjoy the moment. It’s a big game but I think I’m going to enjoy every moment of it, regardless.”
As of this writing, the Rangers [27-22-3] are second in the Metropolitan Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. The Devils 21-19-11 mark ranks fifth in the division and 10th in the conference. The Islanders are in the division cellar and are ahead of Florida and Buffalo in the conference with a 21-24-27 record.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.