In my Eastern Conference Predictions last month, I had the New Jersey Devils finishing 11th, primarily for 3 reasons: A tough division, the loss of Zach Parise and the fact that the goaltending duo combined for almost 80 years of age.
However, Martin Brodeur has been his “old” consistent self. The past two full seasons and beginning of this one have been almost identical. His GAA has been between 2.41 and 2.45 consistently, and his SP is between .903 and .908.
He isn’t starting 70+ games a season any more, and the extra rest has served him well. He made 56 and 59 starts his past two full seasons, and that has probably gone a long way to extending his career. Brodeur has carried on this year, and the shortened season may play into his benefit as he doesn’t have to run a marathon to get his team back to the finals. It doesn’t hurt that prior to Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Islanders, Johan Hedberg was 2-0-1 with a GAA under 1, and a .973 SP. He can provide adequate backup support when Brodeur needs a rest, which right now is a little more often.
The career leader in games played, wins, losses, saves, and shutouts took his team somewhere that nobody anticipated last year. Few thought he could get them back once again this season.
He is 7-2-0 with a shutout this season, showing no signs of being the over the hill 40 year old that I expected. I wouldn’t be against him come playoff time. Guess I was wrong.
Oh yeah, heading into Monday afternoon’s match-up, Brodeur is only 36-22-1 against the Senators in 64 appearances.