April 21, 2009
For a goalie whose composure is his calling card, it's a moment Martin Brodeur's going to regret. After replay confirmed the legality of Jussi Jokinen's game-winning goal with an inconceivable 0.2 seconds left in the game, Brodeur argued with the officials and then slammed his stick against the boards as he left the ice until it broke in pieces. In a remarkable game, the Carolina Hurricanes overcame a blown three-goal lead to win 4-3, and tied their series with the New Jersey Devils at 2-2.
It was an outburst born out of frustration that Jokinen interfered with him before the goal -- and it was misplaced. Brodeur was out of his crease when the contact was made; the referee's non-call was affirmed by the NHL's situation room. Besides, Brodeur had some time to get back in position -- which was the referee's explanation -- and the game-winner was a ricochet off a skate anyway.
But here's the thing: From the moment Brian Gionta scored in the second period to make it 3-1, the Devils were playing with house money. They didn't deserve to win the game based on their pedestrian performance for the previous 39 minutes; the loss will, and should, sting, but the right team won the game. Kudos to the Hurricanes for closing it out in a classic third period. But it's still anyone's series.
A few other thoughts on a great night of hockey:
• Marc-Andre Fleury's 45-save performance in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers was as good as I've seen him in a postseason game. His 18 saves in the third came as the Flyers looked like they were playing with 10 guys on offense. And if the Penguins go on a run, we'll probably see that Chris Kuntiz pass to a driving Sidney Crosby at the net about a billion additional times. Great win by the Pens.
• The Associated Press captured tonight's Columbus Blue Jackets game best: "A mammoth letdown for a franchise-record crowd of 19,219." Look, the Detroit Red Wings are a tough draw, and Chris Osgood was the difference at times. But Michael Spinks showed more punch against Tyson than Columbus has shown in this series.
• Finally, we'll undoubtedly have more about the controversial no-goal call in the Canucks/Blues game in the morning. But for now, let's all enjoy another contribution by RJ Umberger to the "I was lit up in a playoff game" video collection, this time by Brad Stuart of Detroit: