Martin Brodeur got his record setting 24th career playoff shutout, breaking the tie he had with Patrick Roy, as he stopped all 26 shots that the Panthers directed at him. After being pulled, Brodeur has a history of bouncing back with an impressive game and tonight was no different. It was a tightly played game for most of the game until the third period that is; where once again goals came in bunches, this time for the Devils as they scored three goals in just over 6:30. This game finally resembled the series we all thought that we would see when it first started, a very close checking game with a lot of back and forth action. The top two guys for the Devils got back into the series as both Zack Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk scored in tonight’s game, Parise starting the scoring and Kovalchuk finishing the scoring and both goals coming on the power play.
Devils League Leading Penalty Kill Returns
As we all know the Devils had the best penalty kill in the league this season actually setting a NHL record killing 89.6%, and we also know that in this series it just hasn’t shown up for them as they were tied with the Penguins for the worst penalty kill in the playoffs at 40%. Tonight was a different story however as the Devils killed all 6 penalties they had in the game. They were very aggressive getting several shorthanded chances, getting very close to getting the first shorthanded goal of the series (another stat the Devils lead the league in during the regular season with 15).
Martin Brodeur: Future Hall of Famer
What else can really be said about Martin Brodeur that hasn’t been said over the years? He turns 40 in a couple of weeks from now, but tonight looked like he was 30 years old again the way he played. In addition to his record setting shutout performance he also had an assist in tonight’s game, his second of the series, to give him 11 playoff points (1 goal, 10 assists). He’s one of the oldest players in the league but can obviously still play at this level, though this could likely be his last season.
Going the Distance
This series could go the full distance and go the full seven games the way this series has gone so far, with each team winning one and then losing the next game. Game six will be back in Florida on Saturday and the way this series has gone so far, we could see a Florida win unless Brodeur and the Devils can have a repeat performance of the game they played tonight. If the Devils are able to do so and if guys like Brodeur, Parise and Kovalchuk can play like the high caliber players they are than this series could end the way I expected it to and be over in six games.
1st: Martin Brodeur – NJD
2nd: Zach Parise – NJD
3rd: Stephen Gionta – NJD