Devils Need to get Marty's Back
Still stinging from a season without the playoffs, the ageless wonder Martin Brodeur and his mates went back to work Wednesday night knocking off the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in front of the home crowd.
The 38 year old netminder was his vintage self making solid save, after solid save including a gem against Tyler Bozak in the waning minutes of the first period to keep the score 1-0. Brodeur kept the Leafs at bay all game long and the Devils never relinquished the lead. It’s the same successful script the Devils have mastered for the last 18 years.
But, Wednesday’s win was not just another win it was a reminder that the man between the pipes is a 3 time Stanley Cup Champion, a 4 time Vezina trophy winner and the face of a franchise. Just another reminder that the man between the pipes is a very special player.
The 2010-11 season has been everything short of a nightmare for Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. Critics came flying out of the woodwork to point out how rapidly Brodeurs’ skills and reflexes had declined. There was even talk that the Devils should trade him while they could still get something for him. Get something for him? Who were people kidding?
A red hot second half of the season quickly erased all the talk and now Brodeur sits on the cusp of salvaging a poor season by his standards.Standards so high that we have nothing else to compare them to.
Brodeur is the all time leader in NHL wins 625. Brodeur has 13 seasons of 30 or more wins including 8 season of 40 or more wins. Brodeur holds the NHL records for shutouts with 116. He’s even scored two goals in his career.
The win over Toronto is significant because Brodeur moved another win closer to extending his successful string of winning seasons. Since entering the NHL with the Devils in 1991-92, he’s never finished below .500. You would have to go back 20 years to the 1990-91 season with the St-Hyacinthe Laser of the QMJHL to find the last time Brodeur finished with a sub .500 record. He ended that season 22-24-4.
After the victory over the Maple leafs, Brodeur is 23-25-3 on the season with two games remaining. Based on his stellar play against Toronto I’d say he’s not ready to succumb to a losing record just yet.
The Devils have two games remaining and if you think they have nothing to play for you better think again. Besides protecting the legacy of one of the games all-time greats they have a chance to do it in style.
The final two games are Saturday against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden and Sunday against the Boston Bruins in Newark. Currently the Rangers are holding onto the eighth spot in the East just two points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes. Both teams have two games left.
Nothing would please Brodeur and the Devils more than helping the Hurricanes overtake the Rangers and keep New York out of the playoffs.
Beating the Rangers would also leave him one win shy of pulling his record even with only Boston left to play. Brodeurs’ career record against the Bruins is 24-18-9 with a goals against average just above 2. All the more reason to beat the hated Hudson River rivals.
The Devils could essentially kill two birds with one stone.
In his entire career with New Jersey Brodeur has consistently put the team first. He’s never let any of his accolades or accomplishments over shadow the logo on his chest. But, as this tumultuous season comes to a close his teammates owe it to him to pull this out for him.
Even when asked about the final couple of games Brodeur answered like a good soldier, acknowledging the fans that have loved him since the day Stephane Matteu beat him with a wrap around in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.
“For our fans, especially.” Brodeur said, “There the ones praying for that matchup on Saturday, but we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Yes, we hope to see what should happen. We hope to see the New Jersey Devils come together for a memorable finish to an otherwise forgettable season and put together two wins for their legendary goaltender.
Afterall, hasn’t he earned it?
The Devils used goals from Ilya Kovalchuk, Mattias Tedenby, Henrik Tallinder and Patrick Elias to improve the teams record to 37-38-5.
Kovalchuks goal was his 30th goal of the season extending his streak of consecutive 30 goals season to eight. he also picked up his 700th career point when he assisted on Tedenby’s goal in the second.
The Devils also improved to 24-5 in games in which they score three or more goals.
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Devils Owe it to Brodeur to Finish Strong
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