NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur didn't exactly go back to the drawing board following Game 3 of New Jersey's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Florida Panthers, but he did take it to heart.
Goalie - NJD
GAA: 2.39 | SVP: 0.908
It was only two days ago that Devils coach Pete DeBoer pulled his goalie just 2:18 of the second period of Game 3 after Brodeur had allowed three goals on 12 shots in an eventual 4-3 loss. It marked the first time Brodeur had been yanked from a playoff game since a 6-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
But before a sellout crowd at Prudential Center on Thursday, Brodeur rebounded the only way he knew how, with a 26-save shutout in a 4-0 triumph that helped New Jersey even this series at two wins apiece -- and earned him another line in the NHL record book.
The shutout was the 24th of Brodeur's illustrious playoff career, breaking a tie with Patrick Roy that had existed since his last postseason shutout -- a 44-save, 1-0 victory against Carolina in Game 5 of the conference quarterfinals on April 23, 2009.
But Brodeur downplayed the individual accomplishment while paying tribute to his teammates.
“I’ve played a lot of games and you hope when you win games, especially in the playoffs, they’re tight games, so sometimes you need to have shutouts to win some of these games,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to play on great teams to be able to sacrifice themselves to do shutouts and commit themselves to playing well defensively and I’m a product of that.”
DeBoer, who said there was never any question that Brodeur would play in Game 4, said the future Hall of Famer doesn't worry about his own numbers.
PANTHERS VS. DEVILS
Cats win Game 3 with terrific comeback
By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer Florida rallied from a 3-0 deficit and chased Martin Brodeur to notch an improbable 4-3 win and secure a 2-1 series lead.READ MORE ›
"When I talk to him, he doesn't seem like a guy motivated by personal stats," DeBoer said. "Those are things he'll enjoy when he's retired. This guy enjoys the battle and being in there and being in the heat of it with the game on the line. That's what he enjoys and that's what he plays for."
After the Devils blew the game open with three third-period goals, the sellout crowd of 17,625 became focused on the record.
“It was fun. Our fans, especially the last two games, have been unbelievable," Brodeur said. "The building is packed and it’s playoff hockey and there’s no other team that they could root for but us, so it’s kind of nice. And we’re definitely happy about the atmosphere, but you’ve got to give them candy if you want them to be that loud and I think today we did a great job all day long to keep these guys out of any momentum.”
The atmosphere after Game 4 was a complete turnaround from two nights earlier.
"When I was pulled, you try and take everything in stride but it's hard," Brodeur told a large media contingent that surrounded his locker stall after the game.
"I'm not superman here. You get affected by certain things that happen to you, and I wanted to make sure I focused really well [on Thursday]."
Brodeur was more than focused, he was, well, unconscious.
"He's been unbelievable all season and he's always given us a chance to win," forward David Clarkson said. "When he's in net, he's one of the best goalies in the world. You know you always have a chance to win; that's the mindset we have had all season and now all playoffs."
Brodeur said he watched video of Game 3 and, with the help of goalie coach Chris Terreri, tried to pinpoint certain areas that he could improve entering Thursday night.
"It was kind of nice to get back at it and play well," he said. "I looked closely at what happened in Game 3, and I felt pretty good about myself getting back in there. I worked hard in practice to make sure there was no doubt in my mind I was still able to stop the puck … and I was able too. I felt good."
One area Brodeur focused on was the start of the game and establishing a tone for the remainder of the contest. Not only did he make 10 saves in the opening period to regain that confidence, but he also stopped all seven shots sent in his direction during six Florida power plays in the game after the Panthers scored six times on their first 10 advantages in Games 1-3.
"I think my concentration was better early on in the game and I think even if you were pulled or even if you don't play well, you always bear down a little more," he said. "Whatever reason it is, I should bear down all the time, but it's the nature of the position and who we are, I guess. I had a lot of conversations with Chris [Terreri] and Jacques [Caron]. After talking to the guys, I felt confident going into this game."
The effort certainly didn't surprise any of his teammates -- or his coach.
"What separates him from ordinary goalies isn't just his talent, but his mental makeup," DeBoer said. "I think that's what has allowed him to play as long as he has and at the level he has. He's just mentally tougher and is able to handle those highs and lows without it affecting his game."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale