NHL Playoffs: 5 Reasons Martin Brodeur Will Retire a Stanley Cup Champion
Winning the Stanley Cup and retiring.
That's how every NHL player (and coach) would ideally like to end his career.
But rarely does that dream come true for aging veteran players.
Brodeur, showed tonight, at the age of 40, why he is still considered a top 10 goaltender in the game, by simply besting the Flyers and their goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov, in a five-game series win on the road in Philadelphia.
Brodeur is flying a bit under the goaltender radar for these playoffs after the strong performances of Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes and Jonathan Quick of the LA Kings over the first two rounds of the playoffs.
But it will be Brodeur, not Quick or Smith, that will walk out with the Stanley Cup and retire on top of the world at the end of this season.
Here are five reasons why.
1. The Team's 5-on-5 Play
The New Jersey Devils have the best five-on-five goals ratio of any team in the playoffs.
Frankly, it isn't even close.
The Devils' ratio stands at 1.85 to 1, meaning for every goal they give up, they are scoring almost two goals while at five-on-five.
The next closest team remaining is Los Angeles at 1.45.
The Devils' great ratio is partially due to my next reason...
2. Defensive Coverage in the Neutral Zone
The Flyers were held to 11 goals in five games against New Jersey.
That can be directly attributed to the Devils' system defensively in the neutral zone.
The Devils simply did not allow Claude Giroux and the Flyers to get going in the offensive zone.
This left the Flyers little to shoot at when they did in fact come into the Devils' zone because they were rushed to get any kind of offense after being stifled for a lot of the game.
The neutral zone "trap" is a staple of New Jersey Devils hockey, but the revamped version that Peter DeBoer has implemented it on the Devils this season seems to be more effective than ever.
3. The Offense Is Finally Clicking
The Devils' offense is up to 3.00 goals per game, and that is great news for a team that doesn't score many goals usually.
Their offense was mediocre in the regular season, averaging 2.63 goals per game, good for 15th in the league.
Now the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac, Zach Parise, Dainius Zubrus and others are making New Jersey a real threat to put the puck in the back of the net.
For Brodeur, more offense for the Devils means less pressure on him to perform on an elite level.
4. Brodeur's Puck Playing Ability
This is the part that we always forget about Martin Brodeur's game: his phenomenal puck-handling skills.
Brodeur confounds the opposition's fore-check by playing the puck and completely changing the flow of the game in that regard.
Broduer also keeps teams honest on line changes by head-manning the puck when there is a chance to develop offense.
He keeps the other team on their toes with his puck-handling and is one of a few goaltenders in NHL history to score a goal.
He also has three assists during these playoffs, not too bad for a goalie.
A goaltender's puck-handling ability, as we saw tonight in Philadelphia, can be the difference in a series.
5. He Knows What It Takes Because He's Been There Before
Martin Brodeur's been to the top of the hockey world.
The reason the Devils win eight more times this postseason will be because of his experience and ability to calm his team down by his solid play in goal.
Brodeur has raised that Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003. If he wins a Cup this year, he will have a Stanley Cup in three different decades.
Not many players can lay claim to that honor.
Martin Brodeur may not be the dominant Vezina Trophy winner of years past, but he has a 2.05 GAA, a 92.0 save percentage and a shutout.
Prediction: If (and when) Brodeur wins the Cup, he will retire on live television.
The book is closing on Martin Brodeur's historic career, but it will be a great ending to his storied run in the league.
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