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Martin Brodeur recalls favorite playoff memory

Devils great remembers goaltending duel with Dominik Hasek of Sabres in four-OT loss on April 27, 1994

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / NHL.com Staff Writer

Although Martin Brodeur won the Stanley Cup three times and played in the Cup Final five times, his favorite playoff memory is from a game he did not win.

Brodeur, then a 21-year-old rookie goaltender with the New Jersey Devils, went head to head with Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres in a four-overtime thriller in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Memorial Auditorium on April 27, 1994.

Hasek stopped all 70 shots he faced. Brodeur made 49 saves before Dave Hannan scored 5:43 into the fourth overtime to give Buffalo a 1-0 victory and force a deciding game in the best-of-7 series.

"I remember that game, for whatever reason, more than other games," Brodeur said. "I played in so many of them and we had some success and we had some great battles. Some of the games against the [New York] Rangers, we finally beat them in overtime in our building in [the 2012 Eastern Conference Final] at the end of my career. That was a pretty special night, to be able to do that to them in front of our fans. So there was a lot of different moments.

"But that [Game 6 vs. the Sabres] was my first-ever playoff series, and it was the first time I was going to be able move on, too. I couldn't do it [in that game], but I was able to do it in Game 7."

Brodeur, now an assistant general manager and goalie coach with the St. Louis Blues, acknowledged that if the Devils hadn't won 2-1 in Game 7 at the Meadowlands, his memories of Game 6 might not be as fond.

"It's still a good memory, even though it was in a loss," he said. "It just goes to show you never know when you get in the net and play a game what's going to happen, so you always have to be ready for everything."

Brodeur, a four-time Vezina Trophy winner, always considered facing Hasek a challenge. In 1993-94, Hasek won the Vezina for the first of six times and Brodeur won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie.

"He kept you accountable," Brodeur said of Hasek. "You know it's not going to be an easy game to win because he's not going to give up anything."

That was the case in Game 6. Brodeur remembers Devils center Bernie Nicholls, who was a healthy scratch that night, telling him before each of the first three overtimes, "Marty, if you shut them out for another period, I guarantee you we're going to win."

"And he said that three times to me," Brodeur said. "Then, before the fourth overtime, he goes, 'Kid, you're on your own. You've done enough. It's not up to you anymore.' Then, we lost."

It was almost 2 a.m. ET when Hannan scored. A shot from the right circle by Sabres forward Jason Dawe was blocked by New Jersey's Valeri Zelepukin, but Hannan found the carom and lifted a backhand over a sprawling Brodeur for the winner.

"Everything happened in slow motion," Brodeur said. "It was like, 'We've got to redo all that.' It was a similar feeling to when we played Dallas [in Game 5 of the 2000 Stanley Cup Final] and Mike Modano scored in the third overtime. And I said, 'Oh no. Not again.' Then we had to go to Dallas and we went to the second overtime before we finally won it. They wouldn't go away, these guys."

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