SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers saw Martin Brodeur struggle against them earlier this week, only to bounce back with a more Brodeur-like performance.
And while they’d love nothing more than to get a few more soft goals in Game 5, they know the odds of Brodeur letting that happen again aren’t good.
“He’s a world-class goalie,” Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov said after the morning skate Saturday. “The game when he got pulled, he wasn’t at this best, but the last game we played him he was on top of his game. He stopped every shot. We just have to keep putting pucks on net. Eventually it’s going to go in, we know that.”
Brodeur was pulled after giving up three goals in Game 3 when the Panthers rallied from a quick 3-0 deficit to win 4-3.
But in Game 4, Brodeur stopped all 26 shots he faced to set an NHL record with his 24th career playoff shutout.
“You play against a goalie like that, you don’t expect him to let in weak goals, but at the end of the day he’s human,” Panthers center Stephen Weiss said. “If you keep shooting pucks at him and keep getting traffic in front of him, you’re going to find a way to score some goals. If he sees it without any traffic, he’s going to save it, so we’ve got to get bodies in front of him and try and get screens and rebounds, second and third chances. That’s the way you’re going to score.”
For New Jersey, Brodeur’s impressive performance Thursday is one big reason to feel confident heading into Game 5.
“We always expect him to play like that,” captain Zach Parise said. “For whatever reason, things just didn’t go well in Game 3 and he bounced back and had a great game in Game 4. We all expect the same thing tonight. Not putting any pressure on him or anything, that’s just the way we expect him to play game in and game out."