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Brodeur, Devils try to pick up the pieces after 4-3 loss

by Mike G. Morreale /

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Florida Panthers not only rallied for an improbable 4-3 victory in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New Jersey Devils, but also forced coach Pete DeBoer to do the unthinkable.


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Not since the 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinals had veteran Martin Brodeur been pulled in a playoff game. But it happened on Tuesday at the Prudential Center after Florida defenseman Mike Weaver ripped a shot past a screened Brodeur 2:18 into the second to pull the visitors into a 3-3 tie.

"We were up 3-0, and they pulled their goalie [Jose Theodore] as a momentum changing tactic and it worked for them," DeBoer said. "They came back to within 3-2 and go into the first break and I thought it was opportunity for us all to catch our breath and get our game back in order. Then they score on the first shot of the second period, so at that point I have to do my job and try to get a momentum shift in our direction. So I chose to do it that way."

The move caught Brodeur, who is 100-83 in his postseason career, by surprise.

"You don't expect [to be pulled] when you're not losing the game," Brodeur said. "I don't know exactly what [DeBoer] was thinking, but I'm sure there was a good reason."

DeBoer did admit that the 39-year-old Brodeur would start Game 4, which is scheduled Thursday at Prudential Center. The Panthers grabbed a 2-1 lead in this best-of-7 series.

Brodeur spoke about his team's disheartening setback to the Panthers long after the final buzzer had sounded.

Q: What do you think went wrong?

Brodeur: I think we got a little overly excited about that three-goal lead, and let them back in the game. We were a little bit undisciplined, and they got some goals off their power play.

Q: What do you need to do better in Game 4?

Brodeur: I think playing better with the emotion. I felt we started really good but I think we got overly excited and tried to get the fourth one instead of just playing the game. We got into penalty trouble and they got some breaks and scored.

Q: Were you given a reason why you were pulled?

Brodeur: No.

Q: What has gone wrong with the team's penalty kill, which ranked first in the regular season?

Brodeur: They have a good power play against us. They know how to expose us, I guess. They got some breaks today, and you'd love to be able to dominate the way we did in the regular season because that was a big part of our game. When something is lacking, you see the result.

Q: Is this the type of loss that could be a series changer?

Brodeur: Both teams were a little scared in the first two games with blowing leads. It happened to us in Game 3, so it's still early in the series. You don't want to give a team like that too much confidence, knowing they've been playing us so well so far. All our goals came in three periods of this series, so there are six periods where we haven't done anything.

Q: What happened on their first goal [scored by Sean Bergenheim]?

Brodeur: I wanted to give it to my defenseman, and he got flat-footed there and Bergenheim just came in with a lot of speed. It was a controlled rebound and he put it in.

Q: Did you see the puck on their third goal [by Mike Weaver]?

Brodeur: No, I never saw it.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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