LOS ANGELES -- All Martin Brodeur wants to do is his job. It's all he's really ever wanted to do.
If because he does it so well that means people are going to fawn over all of the spectacular saves he makes at key times in big wins, well that's just fine and he'll take the accolades. It still doesn't change him or his approach, which is just to be there for his teammates when they need him most, like in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final when his team was already in a 0-3 hole.
Brodeur, once again, played his best game for the Devils when they needed him to be great. He refused to let the Stanley Cup Final end Wednesday night at Staples Center, making 21 saves -- including a couple on breakaways -- to give his team life and let it finally beat the Los Angeles Kings. The Devils forced a Game 5 with a 3-1 win.
"He has to do that," Patrik Elias said, "otherwise we're done."
Brodeur's biggest moments came at the biggest times, such as the 15:10 mark of the second period, when Simon Gagne broke in alone in a 0-0 game. Brodeur stood his ground, kicked out his left leg and made the pad save to rob Gagne of the chance to put the Kings up 1-0.
Remember, when the Kings score first they are 3-0 in the Cup Final and 10-1 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Brodeur knew that. He knew he couldn't give up the first one in Game 4.
"Oh, it lifts up the bench for sure," Alexei Ponikarovsky said of the Devils reaction to Brodeur's save on Gagne. "Everybody is feeling like we just have to work even harder for him to win this game because he's doing things for us to keep us in the game and we just have to pay him back."
Devils stay alive by beating Kings 3-1By Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer
Adam Henrique broke a 1-1 tie with just 4:31 left in the third period to send the Devils on their way to a 3-1 victory, putting L.A.'s Cup celebration on hold and forcing Game 5 back in New Jersey on Saturday night. READ MORE ›
Before they could, Brodeur came up big again. This time, at the 4:17 mark of the third period, it wasn't a save, but a disruptive poke-check that forced Trevor Lewis to put the puck wide instead of finishing it in the back of the net off a pretty 2-on-1 rush with Gagne.
Brodeur says he never actually got his stick on the puck, but he flailed with his stick as he went down on his side to surprise Lewis, who never could get a shot off.
Once again, the score remained 0-0. The importance can't be overstated.
"Gagne had the puck…and I saw him looking out of the corner of his eye," Brodeur explained. "I saw the guy coming in and he was coming with so much speed that I was going to try to surprise him a little bit. It didn't really work because he went right around me, but at least he missed the net."
Elias gave the Devils a 1-0 lead roughly three and a half minutes later.
Sure, it didn't last long -- only 62 seconds before Drew Doughty's point shot on the power play cleared through the traffic in front of Brodeur and found the back of the net.
However, Brodeur still had one more huge save in his bag of tricks on this night. Dustin Penner came rumbling into the zone, down the left side on a semi-breakaway, but Brodeur came out high to challenge him. Penner had nothing at which to shoot. He tried anyway. The shot went wide right. The game stayed tied, 1-1.
Adam Henrique scored exactly four minutes later, scoring the series-extending goal with 4:31 left in regulation,.
"He does those things when he feels like he can be aggressive, and he's been doing that for 20 years so he knows when to do it," Elias said. "Most of the time it works."
Most of the time it looks spectacular, but Brodeur doesn't so much care about that right now. He just wants to do his job. He just wants to be good enough for his teammates.
He's not done yet.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl