BRONX, N.Y. -- "Besides playing the game of hockey, it was unbelievable." That's how Martin Brodeur summed up the nightmare of allowing six goals as the New Jersey Devils were routed by the New York Rangers 7-3 in the Stadium Series matchup at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
A four-goal second period by the Rangers changed the game for good after the Devils built a 3-1 lead in the first 16 minutes of the game.
The 41-year-old Brodeur, who's in the final year of his contract, allowed more than four goals in a game for the seventh time this season and admitted that the cold, snowy conditions affected him.
"You rely a lot on instinct, noise and stuff like that," said Brodeur afterward. "I just had zero feeling. I can't close my glove. Can't catch a puck. Everything was frozen. The puck hits you, it's tough. When it hits you, it's fun. When it doesn't, not as fun."
The temperature at the start of the game was a balmy 24.9 degree Fahrenheit, ideal for the scene, but not so much for players dealing with the elements. Brodeur said the Yankee Stadium sheet was the worst ice he's ever played on, but the numerous odd-man rushes New Jersey allowed were the biggest reason why New York came out on top.
"I thought we had a really good first period, and I think we fell into a little bit of a trap because it was five goals scored in the first," said Devils head coach Peter DeBoer. "We started to open it up a little bit in the second looking for another three goals in the second period, and that's not our game. They made us pay."
"It was not something that we usually do," said Brodeur. "But they made us pay the price because we weren't disciplined enough."
The game got away from the Devils quickly. After Mats Zuccarello tied the game, the Rangers piled on and scored three times in the final 7:16 of the period. Three of the four goals came on odd-man rushes.
When asked if he took a moment to look around and soak up the scene of the 50,105 fans in attendance, Jaromir Jagr joked, "Looked like we all did in the second period."
After nine goals in the opening 40 minutes, the game finally settled down in the third period with only one tally, a penalty shot by Derek Stepan. By that point Brodeur was on the bench watching after being replaced by Cory Schneider.
"I told Pete and asked if he wanted to put Schneids in for the experience," said Brodeur. "In a game like that, sometimes you know as a goalie."
The game could have gone either way after the first period, but it quickly moved to the Rangers' favor. That's two points for them in a tight Eastern Conference playoff picture. And while the experience of the event will be remembered, the Devils are already leaving this one behind and looking forward.
"Tonight was one of those nights where the shot went in, hit something, went in," said DeBoer. "We had one of those games a week ago or less than a week ago against St. Louis where we had seven, and everything we put on the net went in.
"One of those nights that you have to move on."
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