The Philadelphia Flyers are off the playoff grid, allowing another sleeper team advance to the Conference Finals.
The New Jersey Devils years of rebuilding is finally now, it appears.
The 4-1 series result has the year’s biggest threat packing up earlier than expected. And Martin Brodeur has a thing or two to do with this.
In Game 1, he allowed four goals, but in Games 2-5, he allowed seven in all. He was the better goalie between himself and Ilya Bryzgalov, statistically, with a 2.05 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
Just two days after his 40th birthday, Brodeur can say he’s closer to being back with the Cup for the first time since, well, 2003, when they defeated the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the finals. Since then, the Devils have gone back to the Conference semifinals, but haven’t materialized the same results as Tuesday evening.
It appears Brodeur has shaken off the playoff draught in his veteran years.
Comparing Brodeur’s statistics from the 2002-03 year has some weight and gold, too. His playoffs obviously this year is 2.05 GAA. In the 2003 season, he finished 2.03 in the regular season, and has not done better since. He stood at 2.45 two years ago and a heavy 2.57 in 2006. But this season, he finished with a 2.15 GAA. It’s safe to say Brodeur isn’t just hitting his strides in the regular season, but has done so in the playoffs.
Sure, a couple of Flyers injuries may have played into his favour, but Philadelphia is a team with depth and physicality. Case in point: In Game 5, the Flyers outhit the Devils 38-26.
It is just another step toward restoring some of the credibility that has slipped away the past few years. Not that his career needs such a boost. It’s more of an ego thing. You know, proving he can still get it done.
Brodeur, who is undoubtedly bound for the Hockey Hall of Fame, has not played well at the most critical time of the year of late, producing a winning record in the playoffs just once in the last seven seasons. That was in 2005-06 when he was 5-4.
And the Hall of Fame topic is always one that seeps in when regarding a veteran player at the caliber of Brodeur. At least, if anything, this year’s brilliant postseason run is a testament to longevity in his career. Bouncing the favored Flyers will just be an afterthought years from now, but a good feeling for New Jersey fans for the time being.