NEWARK, N.J. – The injuries continue to pile up for the New Jersey Devils.
Already missing key players Brian Rolston (ankle) and Bobby Holik (pinkie), the Devils suffered potentially the most devastating loss of all when Marty Brodeur injured his left elbow. The Brodeur situation overshadowed the Devils’ 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night.
Brodeur, one of the most durable players in the NHL, left the game after bruising his elbow in the second period.
No one knew the severity of the injury, or offered a time frame for recovery.
“You’re asking me something I’m not sure of,” said Devils coach Brent Sutter. “I just don’t know what to tell you. We’ll see where Marty’s at tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes.”
Sutter said he had not spoken to Brodeur, who dressed and went home without speaking to the media.
Brodeur, seven wins shy of tying Patrick Roy’s NHL record of 551 career victories, had played every minute of New Jersey’s 10 games this season before he was hurt 6:38 into the second period. He did the splits to make a sprawling stop, got up slowly clutching his left arm, and skated off the ice with the Devils leading 3-0.
“He stretched out to make a glove save,” Sutter said. “They he stretched out again. I don’t know exactly what happened. He got hit earlier with a shot there, too.”
Zach Parise scored two goals to help the Devils end a three-game losing streak and extend his goal-scoring string to a career-high six straight.
Atlanta suffered its sixth straight loss, a game in which the Thrashers were barely competitive. Slava Kozlov scored for Atlanta at 6:30 of the third period off Brodeur’s replacement – Kevin Weekes -to prevent its third shutout in 11 games.
“You don’t want that to happen,” Weekes said. “My parents taught us when we were younger that you don’t want to look for an opportunity at the expense of somebody else’s health. It’s happened to me. It’s happened to all of us. We’ve got a lot of guys hurt, and hopefully Marty’s isn’t too serious.”
Brodeur led the NHL in games played by a goalie the last two seasons with 78 and 77 appearances. The last time he was forced out of action was in 2005, when he was sidelined for six games due to a knee injury from Oct. 28 to Nov. 8.
In addition to closing in on Roy’s records for wins and games played by a goalie, Brodeur also is five shutouts away from tying Terry Sawchuk’s NHL career mark of 103.
“You don’t want to see anybody go down,” said Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner. “Obviously, he’s pretty important for us. We all hope it’s not anything too serious.”
Bergfors scored the goal as the Devils led 1-0 after a dominant first period in which they outshot the Thrashers 12-4.
Bergfors got his first NHL point, shooting from the right circle while Dainius Zubrus provided an effective screen in front of Johan Hedberg at 14:10.
Hedberg made his second start of the season with Kari Lehtonen, “under the weather” according to Thrashers officials, a scratch.
New Jersey blew the game open with five goals in the second period for a 6-0 lead.
“There is no reason for us having these letdowns,” Hedberg said. “For whatever reason, we can’t seem to get it together.”
Besides the pair from Parise, New Jersey got tallies from Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta and Jay Pandolfo to bury the Thrashers.
“We’re a fragile team right now,” said Thrashers coach John Anderson. “It’s really tough right now.”
Notes: Sheldon Brookbank replaced Andy Greene on the New Jersey blueline. Greene suffered a broken hand Thursday night in the Devils 6-5 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs and will be out 4-to-6 weeks. … Bergfors played in his second game. He played on opening night last season and hurt his shoulder. … The Thrashers recalled G Ondrej Pavelec from Chicago (AHL) to backup Hedberg. He took over to start the third period. … Parise became the fifth Devil to score goals in six straight games. Holik, on a seven-game stretch, did it most recently in 1998. Other Devils to reach that mark were Kirk Muller, Pat Verbeek and Valeri Zelepukin. Paul Gardner holds the franchise record with goals in 11 straight in 1979, when the team was located in Colorado and Don Cherry was the head coach.