OTTAWA (AP) - Martin Brodeur was as happy about Jay Pandolfo being named a finalist for an NHL award as he was about learning of the two trophies he is in contention to win.
Yet, both players are more concerned with helping the New Jersey Devils even their second-round series against the Ottawa Senators than any personal honors.
"I was a little surprised," Pandolfo said about being named one of three finalists for the Selke Award as the league's best defensive forward. "It's nice when you get a little recognition but it's not something that was on my mind at all."
Pandolfo was nominated for the first time Tuesday, while Brodeur is a finalist for both the Vezina and Hart trophies, awarded to the league's best goalie and MVP, respectively.
"I think it's the fruit of a full season," said Brodeur, a two-time Vezina winner in 2003 and '04 who finished third in Hart voting both years. "It's definitely nice just to be considered for these awards, but it stays there. During the regular season you go out and try to do your best and make an impact on your team, so when you get recognition for that it's definitely nice. At least you worked for something."
Brodeur had put forth Pandolfo's name for consideration for the Selke Award during the season in a weekly column he writes for the journal de Montreal.
"I'm happy for him," Brodeur said. "He's a guy that plays unnoticed a lot but he's such an important player and just for him to be recognized finally for it, he deserves it, big time."
Both players were more focused on the Devils' 2-1 deficit against Ottawa following a brief practice at Scotiabank Place.
"We understand that we need to win one game in their building to get home-ice advantage back," Brodeur said. "Hopefully we'll have a solid game tomorrow to get back in the series."
The Senators regained the series lead with a 2-0 win Monday that featured a controversial game-winning goal by Ottawa defenseman Tom Preissing.
Brodeur and Devils coach Lou Lamoriello pointed out after the game that Senators center Mike Fisher had interfered with the goalie before Preissing's shot. Both Brodeur and Lamoriello had turned the page on the incident Tuesday, and Fisher was happy to hear that Brodeur didn't think Fisher had tangled skates with him by design.
"I obviously appreciate that," Fisher said. "He knows what kind of a player I am and I know what type of goalie he is. I'm not dirty by any means, I try to go by the rules as much as I can but it's obviously part of the game and it happens all the time, it just happened to play a big part in a big game."
Fisher's interference aside, the Senators' strategy of putting pucks towards the net as a means to get one past Brodeur delivered the winner off Preissing's sharp-angled shot from the right boards.
"We've talked about it a lot," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "We know that this is a guy that's difficult to score goals on. Tom threw the puck at the net, I don't think he thought he was going to score. I think he just put the puck there and we were hoping to have traffic and one goes in and that's the bottom line in hockey.
"Some games are not very pretty but pucks go in the net the odd time for you if you get a break or you get traffic, whatever the case may be."
Murray was pleased with his team's play after they took the 1-0 lead early in the third.
Jason Spezza scored into an empty net to seal the win, a goal that was particularly noteworthy in that he and Dany Heatley were on the ice along with linemate Daniel Alfredsson protecting a one-goal lead late in a crucial game.
Murray said that the two offensive stars had earned the opportunity to play in those situations, though it hadn't been a particularly smooth road for Spezza.
"He and I had many discussions and he was frustrated with me and I was a little frustrated with him early in the year, like we were at times last year," Murray said, "but I think that he recognized if he just would play a little more without the puck, a little harder without the puck, that he could really add to what he does for this hockey team - and he does a lot for the team with the puck."
Heatley took on different responsibilities when Spezza was sidelined for 14 games by a knee injury and the Senators recovered from a 17-18-1 start.
Murray said Spezza bought in completely when he returned to the lineup.
"Shortly after that he started to do it more and more and as I saw the year go on, you know, it was the same type of thing," Murray said. "He got rewarded by getting on the ice at critical times in games. And now I feel very comfortable with him going out on the ice and trying to win a faceoff or trying to check and shut the team down in the last minute of a one-goal game."