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Brodeur doing it all for Devils

Tuesday, 05.22.2012 / 12:09 AM | Brian Compton  - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
Martin Brodeur made his 186th consecutive postseason start for the New Jersey Devils on Monday night and came within 5:05 of recording his 25th career playoff shutout in a 4-1 win against the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at the Prudential Center.

Brodeur was indeed solid in a 28-save performance to help New Jersey even this best-of-seven series at two games apiece. But stopping pucks isn't the only thing Brodeur is doing well this postseason.

The Devils' goaltender also picked up an assist on Zach Parise's empty-net goal with 1:29 remaining in regulation. It was Brodeur's fourth assist of the playoffs -- the most by any goaltender in a single postseason. No goaltender had more than five assists (Nashville's Pekka Rinne reached that mark) during the regular season.

Entering Wednesday's Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, Brodeur -- who now has 109 playoff victories -- will have more points than 92 players this postseason among those who have appeared in at least seven games. He's now averaging a point every four games in these playoffs.

No strangleholds here -- It's somewhat hard to believe the Rangers are still playing when you consider that with Monday's loss, they fell to 0-7 this postseason when possessing a lead in a series.

Monday's defeat also guaranteed that the Eastern Conference Final will last at least six games. If New York is going to qualify for the Stanley Cup Final, it may very well require 21 playoff contests to get there.

"All I'm concerned about is the next game," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "We need to answer the proper way. That's the only thing I'm concerned about right now -- how we're going to answer. And we've done it all playoffs."

More offense needed -- If the Phoenix Coyotes are going to force a Game 6 in the Western Conference Final, they'll likely needed Radim Vrbata to break out of his postseason-long slump.

Vrbata has scored 105 goals over the last four regular seasons in the desert, but he has struggled in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fifteen games into the postseason, the winger has just two goals and two assists. He's also gone seven straight contests without a point.

"Every time I feel like I might have a chance, somehow it is quickly taken away," Vrbata said. "The perfect shot just isn't out there. The ones that are going in, they hit people or sticks and find a hole, that's the way it is.

"You have one good shift and you try to build on it and there is a penalty, or you get pinned in your zone and you can't keep it going. You feel like you have a good chance – finally, there it is – and you have two guys who want to block it. You just have to make sure you play good defense and contribute in other ways until you can make something happen."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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