Stanley Cup Final 2012: Martin Brodeur Gives New Jersey Devils the Edge

Darin PikeContributor IJune 10, 2012

The 2012 Stanley Cup will come down to play in the net.
The 2012 Stanley Cup will come down to play in the net.Elsa/Getty Images

With the exception of the 4-0 Game 3 win for the Los Angeles Kings, tight contests have marked this year's Stanley Cup Final.

The goalkeepers have been the difference thus far in the series, and a rejuvenated Martin Brodeur will be the difference as the New Jersey Devils look to win the final two games.

Despite losing the first two games of the series, Brodeur was sharp in the net. He allowed just one goal in regulation of both games before the Kings scored winners on him in overtime.

Then came the four-goal meltdown in Game 3.

A different Brodeur has emerged in the last two games, surrendering just one goal in each of the two Devils wins.

The 40-year-old has spent his entire career with the Devils and certainly has the experience to know how to win in the playoffs. Brodeur has three Stanley Cup wins during his 18 seasons and is second to Patrick Roy in playoff wins for a goalie.

Despite his season-long goals against average (GAA) rising above 2.4 in three of the last four seasons, he is still one of the best goalies in the NHL. His 2.0 GAA in the 2012 playoffs are right at his career average of 2.01.

While he says he still has more hockey ahead of him, retirement is certainly on his mind.

A New York Daily News article outlined a funny exchange with a reporter after a practice session between Games 4 and 5. Brodeur was asked after practice on Friday if the performance in Game 4 was a “point of personal pride, that if it was going to end, (he) didn't want it to end on that kind of note.”

He took the question to mean his career, not the 2012 season.

"Sure, a little but it's not going to end so it's not that big of a deal." When the reporter clarified with “I meant the season,” Brodeur responded with “oh, OK. I thought you meant my career.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Quick is certainly having the best season of his young four-year career. He posted a GAA of just 1.95 during the regular season. He is under 1.45 goals during the 2012 playoffs. But after advancing out of the Western Conference to play for his first Stanley Cup, Quick is dealing with something new being placed upon him—expectations.

Little was expected of the eighth-seeded Kings as they began their tremendous playoff run. They were able to play loose and with nothing to lose.

Quick had never won a playoff series prior to this season. He has shown tremendous poise, particularly in the Stanley Cup Final, where he's surrendered just six goals in five games.

But four of those goals came in the last two matches.

This is the point of the playoffs where every player will feel the pressure. Brodeur is playoff tested and has the experience from which to draw perspective.

Brodeur also realizes this could be his final chance to win another Cup. He will continue to play focused and inspired in the net and will be the difference over the final two games for the Devils.