(AP) — New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur has a sprained right knee and his status has been listed as day to day.

The Devils said Tuesday that Brodeur’s injury will not require surgery. The 38-year-old Brodeur was hurt on Sunday when something “popped” in his knee in the first period of a 4-1 win over the Canadiens in Montreal.
Brodeur had an MRI on Monday.

Johan Hedberg will start for the Devils against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday at the Prudential Center. Mike McKenna was called up from Albany of the AHL to back up Hedberg.

Hedberg stopped 14 of 15 shots in two periods as Brodeur’s replacement Sunday, and is 1-4-1 with a 2.94 goals-against average in seven games since the start of January. He took over for an ineffective Brodeur in New Jersey’s only previous meeting with the Hurricanes this season on New Year’s Day, turning away 15 of 18 shots in a 6-3 loss.

Brodeur stopped 4 of 7 shots in 8 minutes before being pulled in that one, but has been playing much better lately. The four-time Vezina Trophy winner is 8-1-1 with a 1.92 GAA and one shutout in his last 10 starts for the Devils, 9-1-2 in their last 12 games after winning just 10 of their first 41.

Ilya Kovalchuk is also playing much better. He scored twice Sunday, giving him seven goals in his last 11 games after notching two in his previous 10.

Despite New Jersey’s turnaround, its still 16 points back of the Hurricanes (26-21-6) and Atlanta for the East’s final playoff spot.

“We still have a lot of work cut out for us, and I don’t think anyone’s looking too far ahead, but that said, (Carolina’s) a team that’s got the eighth spot right now. We’re playing them a bunch of times,” center Tim Sestito said. “We just have to make sure we’re getting two points, not just one.”

While it has been 5 1/2 weeks since the last meeting, these teams are about to become much more familiar with one another.

The Hurricanes, who are opening a five-game road trip, conclude their trek next Wednesday in New Jersey. These teams then meet three days later in Carolina.

The Hurricanes, losers of four of five on the road, are hoping to avoid a letdown after beating Atlanta 4-3 in overtime on Saturday. Erik Cole scored the winner as Carolina pulled even with the Thrashers in the standings.

“We talked about this being a huge game and we won it, so we should enjoy that,” coach Paul Maurice said. “We should build off it.”

Cam Ward made his 12th straight start for Carolina on Saturday, and turned aside 34 shots. He made 25 saves against the Devils last month, improving to 5-3-0 with a 2.00 GAA in his last eight starts against them.

Updated February 7, 2011
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