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Devils coach on playing Martin Brodeur: “We’re going to load him up with games”

Feb 1, 2012, 2:12 PM EDT

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Martin Brodeur AP

Shortly after Martin Brodeur won his 15th game with an emotional 4-3 shootout victory over the Rangers, New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer said it wouldn’t be long before Brodeur had a chance for win No. 16.

And then 17.

And then 18.

And so on…and so forth.

“As long as the schedule allows, we’re going to load him up with games,” DeBoer told the Star-Ledger.

“I think Marty’s going to get a lot of starts, but I’m a little reluctant to change our back-to-back philosophy,” he added. “Just because our back-to-back record has been excellent, and part of that has been because both goaltenders have played pretty well.”

The Devils only have four back-to-backs left in the season, suggesting Brodeur will see plenty of action down the stretch. Some might bristle at the idea of DeBoer riding his 39-year-old goalie hard (there’s gotta be a better way to say that), especially since Brodeur only played 56 games a year ago and, with a 23-26-3 record, posted his first losing season ever.

But this is the same Brodeur that led the NHL in appearances (77) just two years ago and hasn’t given up more than three goals in his last eight starts. There’s also the not-so-small issue of Brodeur wrecking shop in the shootout — he’s 4-1 this year and has only allowed two goals, posting one of the league’s top save percentages, which is huge considering the Devils have participated in a league-high 11 shootouts.

As for what Brodeur thinks of getting “loaded up” with games despite the fact he turns 40 in May?

“It’s just a number,” he told the New York Times. “You can let it affect you if you think about it all the time.”

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