newjerseydevils.com – Martin Brodeur
can lay claim to an exceptional list of playoff accomplishments, something Carolina head coach Paul Maurice sees as a challenge for his team heading into Game 7 at Prudential Center.
“You worry about coming into Jersey,” Maurice said. “You see it with all great goaltenders: your shooters change the way they approach the net because of the guy in goal.”
Brodeur has backstopped the Devils to three Stanley Cup titles and was set to extend his own record with his 165th consecutive playoff start on Tuesday.
Maurice suggested that his club shouldn't allow Brodeur’s resume to affect its mindset heading into the deciding game. He expected to see the Hurricanes put plenty of rubber on the four-time Vezina Trophy winner.
“If we had gotten to Game 7 mustering 22 shots and a big bulk of our video is (the coaching staff) screaming at our players to shoot the puck more, I’d be worried about that,” Maurice said. “But it seems to be league-wide, when you get a really good goaltender, instead of looking for better shots, every team is taking the philosophy of firing absolutely everything at the net and hoping for some scrums. I haven’t seen with our team that we’ve changed the way we look at the goaltending or the guy in the net because of who he is.”
With his 1-0 win in Game 5, Brodeur tied Patrick Roy for first on the NHL’s postseason shutout list (23). He’s also first on the NHL’s all-time post-season list with a 1.97 GAA; second with 98 wins (Roy, 151) and 175 games played (Roy, 247).
“I think that’s more something everyone creates, talking about the goalie,” said Hurricanes captain Rod Brind’Amour. “As a player that’s your last worry. Getting shots to the net or just getting a good chance, that’s your worry. If he makes a save, well that’s what the goalie’s supposed to do. That’s not our focus.”
Eric Staal had his best game of the series in Game 6, scoring twice and adding an assist. He said Carolina doesn’t expect to change anything now against Brodeur.
“You keep it simple,” Staal said. “You just go to the net hard, shoot from everywhere, maybe even close your eyes. It’s all you can do against great goalies. You just keep it simple, you keep firing, keep attacking, you keep on him. Hopefully, you get him frustrated eventually, and things will start to fall your way. You’re going to get your bounces if you keep on the attack and that’s all you need to do.”
On the offensive end, Zach Parise
and Travis Zajac
will try to be difference-makers for the Devils after going without a point in Games 4-6. They combined for four goals and three assists in the first three contests.
“You were sent in to ask that question, the jinx question. Now how hard am I going to bite?” Maurice told a reporter when asked about Parise and Zajac being due. “I never feel they’re quiet when I've got the puck. I’m not breathing any more relaxed when they’re in the offensive zone. So many times with great players, the difference in the game is about two or three inches in the way the puck comes off their stick or the goaltender makes the save.”
Maurice continued: “The fact that they haven’t scored means that we’re here, but that’s not going to help my pregame nap any, no.”