When the 2010-2011 NHL season came to an end there was many different people speculating whether long time goalie Martin Brodeur will call it quits and hang up the skates. However, Brodeur shut down all speculation quickly as he was ready to return for another season between the pipes for the New Jersey Devils. Both sides felt like Brodeur can come back another season and play at a high level and boy were they right. Brodeur came back and had a 30 win season. Incredibly, this season was his 14th season as a NHL goalie where he has recorded 30 or more wins in a single season.
SAVE %: .908
Unfortunately, Brodeur failed to get off to a good start as he lost two of his first three games that he had played in. After the slow start, Brodeur went onto win four of his next five games as he showed flashes of greatness while making spectacular saves as he continued to put his team in a great chance to be successful in the beginning of the season. As the Devils continued to develop their chemistry, Brodeurs play began to increase as well as he was showing everyone that even at the age of 40 he was still able to play goalie at an elite level in the NHL.
Even though that this year isn’t exactly what were used to seeing from Brodeur with 21 losses, the Devils still found themselves in a great position to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth time in the past ten years (excluding the 04-05 season due to lockout). With the season rounding out and the playoff seeding becoming more clear, the Devils were happy where they were sitting as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
With the playoffs almost underway, the Devils were looking for big play out of players like captain Zach Parise and star forward IIya Kovalchuk. However, in order for this team to be successful and make a deep run in the postseason, New Jersey needed goalie Martin Brodeur to be the goalie that he was six years ago when he went onto win a personal best 48 games in one season.
When the playoffs began, the Devils officially entered as the number sixth seed. They began their march to the cup in South Florida as they had to play the Florida Panthers. Despite holding the home ice advantage and the higher seed, the Panthers were viewed as the underdogs. With the advantage in the Devils favor, they came out in the first game and showed why they were favored as they went onto win 3-2. After forcing a game seven the Panthers fell short to the Devils in a double overtime game seven in a game in which Brodeur saved 43 of 45 shors faced.
After the Devils finished off the Panthers, the team looked red hot as they went onto to face the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference semi-finals. The Flyers came in with a hot offense. The Devils went onto lose the first game as Brodeur allowed four goals. However, after the first game, Brodeur bounced back and played better than ever as he went onto help lead the Devils to four straight victories eliminating the Flyers.
The Devils then went onto defeat the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. Again, Brodeur was money as he continued to carry over his success from previous series’. The success that Brodeur accomplished put the Devils in position to return to Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in nine seasons. The last time they made it to the finals they went onto defeat the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in what was a great seven game seires.
Now, the Devils are facing the road warriors Los Angeles Kings in what has already proved to be a great series. Brodeur has been phenominal in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals as he has played well on a consistent basis. With the series now underway, Brodeur has to keep up his great goaltending. The former Vezina Trophy winner put in a fantastic effort last night, despite the loss in the first game of the series as the Kings went onto win 2-1 off of an incredible overtime goal by Anze Kopitar, in what was one of the more physical games we have seen all season. After a fantastic game one, Brodeur is looking to come into the second game of the series with a similar mindset, except this time he wants victory as he looks to once again be able to raise the Stanley Cup. Despite reports that Brodeur said he is strongly considering returning next season, this might be one of the last chances he has to once again be on top as he wishes to once again celebrate with his teammates as champions.
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