Johan Hedberg never felt his teammates or the Devils’ management and coaching staff lost confidence in him during the club’s recent slump. And he never thought he’d lose his job as the No. 1 goalie while Martin Brodeur is out with a sore back.

"No. I think communication is one of this team’s strengths. From Lou (Lamoriello) to the coaches it is second to none,” Hedberg said today. “There is no second-guessing. You don’t have to walk around guessing what people think. They’ll tell you. I felt they had confidence in me all the time.”

As for his own confidence, he said: “Worrying is a big part of being an athlete. It’s something you try to get away from. It’s easier for me to handle it now than it was 10-15 years ago, but you still think when things aren’t going your way… I feel better after these last two games than after games I get pulled. But I didn’t ever feel I dropped to the bottom.”

Hedberg will start his 11th straight game tomorrow night, with the potential of starting three games in four nights if he also plays Saturday night’s home game at Prudential Center against the Montreal Canadiens.

“I’m ready to play,” Hedberg said.

Coach Pete DeBoer didn’t rule Brodeur out of Saturday’s game, but that seems like a long shot. Brodeur and defenseman Henrik Tallinder skated today but not in the optional, 12-player practice. Neither went to Philadelphia, so Brodeur would not even have had a full practice with the team since being put on injured reserve. He last played a game on Feb. 21 in Washington.

“It’s really day to day,” DeBoer said of Brodeur. “We’re waking up on a daily basis, having conversations with him and seeing how he feels. I can’t tell you anything more than that.”