The New Jersey Devils will honor Martin Brodeur by unveiling a statue in his honor outside Prudential Center on Monday and retiring his No. 30 prior to a game against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. NHL.com is honoring Brodeur by taking a look back at his record-breaking and likely Hall of Fame career in a series of stories counting down to his jersey retirement ceremony.
Here is the story of Brodeur's last hurrah in 2012:
Nine years, 568 games played and 307 regular-season and playoff victories separated Martin Brodeur from his last Stanley Cup championship in 2003 and the start of his final magical run in 2012.
It was a long time with a lot of hockey, a lot of winning and a lot of aging. That's why it seemed so surprising that Brodeur, at age 40, could bathe in the fountain of youth one more time to help make one more Stanley Cup push as he did in 2012.
Except it wasn't surprising, not to the people that know him best.
"Nothing ever surprised me with Marty," former Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "It was expected."
Former Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko, who won the Stanley Cup three times with Brodeur, echoed Lamoriello when he was asked about New Jersey's surprising run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings; a series the Devils lost in six games.
"I just looked at it as something the great ones do," Daneyko said. "They had a pretty good team that year with [Zach] Parise, [Ilya] Kovalchuk and the likes, and Marty was Marty. You looked at the way he channeled his 10-year-ago Marty and put him on that magical run. That's what you expect from the greats.
"All good things come to an end eventually, but Marty made sure it wasn't going to go down without a hurrah."
Brodeur didn't have to be great in 2012, but the Devils wouldn't have gotten to the Cup Final if he wasn't pretty darn close to it.
He had a .917 save percentage and a 2.12 goals-against averaging in winning 14 of 24 games that spring. Entering the 2012 playoffs, Brodeur had won 16 of 42 postseason games since helping the Devils win the Cup in 2003.
"Our team was playing really well, and Marty was making saves that you expect him to make and some that you weren't expecting him to make," Parise said. "It was just a good combination."
It wasn't necessarily how many saves Brodeur made, it was when he made them and what they did for the team.
There were his 43 saves in Game 7 of the first round against the Florida Panthers, including 12 in the first overtime, which gave New Jersey a chance to win in double overtime.
"The overtime game he played in Florida in Game 7, that was special," Devils goalie coach Chris Terreri said. "You obviously have to win it, but when you do I think it gave the team and him that little extra boost or extra little jump to go from there. He made some spectacular saves in the overtime and it sort of catapulted the team forward."
The Devils blitzed the Philadelphia Flyers in four straight after losing Game 1. They went six games against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, but Brodeur made 33 saves, including eight in the third period, before New Jersey won Game 6 in overtime.
"That's where experience takes over, and the drive," former Devils captain Scott Stevens said. "When he got to that point, it just became a bit like old hat, like, 'Hey, I've been here before, I know what it takes and I know what to do.' Even though he might have been a little older and not as good as he once was, he still had that advantage."
Brodeur, for once, was the underdog and he loved it.
"Everybody doubted me, and it's fun to play like that, when you're not expected to do anything," he said.
It was hardly Brodeur's fault that the Devils lost to the Kings in the Final. He stopped 53 of 57 shots in the first two games, but New Jersey lost each 2-1 in overtime. He stopped 46 of 48 shots to stave off elimination by winning Games 4 and 5.
Steve Bernier's five-minute boarding penalty 10:10 into the first period of Game 6 snowballed into three power-play goals against in a span of 3:58, undoing any chance the Devils had at forcing a Game 7.
"It could have been a lot different," Brodeur said. "Our attitude was great, we came back in the series, and it took an iffy call to take us out of the Stanley Cup Final."
Brodeur said "iffy" only because seconds before Bernier hit Rob Scuderi from behind, Kings forward Jarret Stoll hit Brian Gionta from behind. The Devils wanted a penalty called on Stoll. Instead the Kings got a five-minute power play they used to essentially win the series.
Regardless, Brodeur said he was at peace with the result because of how unpredictable it was for him to go on that one last ride.
It was such a different feeling from the previous time he lost in the Stanley Cup Final, 11 years earlier, when he was 29 and couldn't close out the Colorado Avalanche despite holding a 3-2 lead in the series with Game 6 at home.
"I had no regrets," Brodeur said. "I finished that series and I was at peace with myself compared to the one that we lost in 2001, when I was in my prime and you never know if you're going to get back. That hurt.
"I knew this time around it would probably be the last time, and I enjoyed every moment of it. I was so relaxed. I didn't feel the pressure."