Any attempt by the Ottawa Senators to eliminate the Devils on Saturday night will have to go through Martin Brodeur
The Devils’ goaltender has been plenty busy through four games against the Senators, facing 30 or more shots in each of the last three contests, including 45 in New Jersey's 3-2 overtime win in game two.
Brodeur stopped 33 of 36 shots in New Jersey’s 3-2 loss in game four, as the Devils fell behind three games to one in their Eastern Conference Semifinal.
Brodeur figures to be a factor in game five slated for Saturday night at the Meadowlands (8 p.m., FSN NY, 92.3 Free FM). Tickets are available at the Continental Airlines Arena box office, Ticketmaster charge-by-phone and ticketmaster.com, and fans can follow all of the Devils' postseason action by visiting Playoff Central.
In a conference call today, Brodeur seemed less concerned about the Devils’ two-game deficit and more focused on building off the positives that he saw from the team in Wednesday’s contest. Hope for a New Jersey turnaround would begin with a win, and Brodeur feels this Devils group has plenty to work with.
“I think we did a lot of good stuff last game,” Brodeur said. “I think we just have to keep doing more of the same. We just have to start just capitalizing on some of the opportunities that we’ve had. We’ve had our share.”
No one would know better about capitalizing on chances to win than Brodeur, a veteran of 163 career playoff appearances, and 94 postseason victories. When the Devils needed three wins in a row to upend the Flyers in the 2000 Conference Finals, Brodeur held Philadelphia to a goal per game three straight times.
Now with three Stanley Cup Championships and two Vezina trophies on his growing list of career achievements, Brodeur recognizes the value of that kind of experience (seven other players from that 2000 team still remain), as well as the dividends it can pay in situations like the one the Devils now face.
“When older guys have been through it, we have to try to share some of the experiences,” said Brodeur. “This is somewhat of an opportunity for us to create something great for our hockey club.
“We have a lot to lose, or not – it all depends how you see it. No one expects us to come back. I think right now we shouldn’t feel the pressure.”
Even with no margin for error for the rest of this Ottawa series, Brodeur seemed to acknowledged that talk of a comeback would be premature if the team doesn’t take to the Meadowlands ice on Saturday fully prepared to fight for their playoff lives with some old-fashioned Devils’ resilience.
“Every team that’s down 3-1 will have the same comments over and over. It’s all about the actions you take and the commitment you make when the game starts.” Brodeur said.
“It’s really when the puck drops on Saturday night that guys will need to be focused and ready to battle and to survive. Right now it’s not about gaining momentum. It’s about surviving.”