With three Stanley Cups, 405 wins and eight All-Star game appearances to his credit, Martin Brodeur doesn’t have anything left to prove in the NHL. The way he’s started this season, he may be feeling differently.
After allowing four goals, three in the first period, on 23 shots in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday, Brodeur was pulled after 40 minutes in a 6-1 loss to Carolina on Saturday.
Brodeur surrendered five goals on 19 shots against the Hurricanes and was pulled from a regular-season game for the first time since March 13, 2003, when he allowed four goals in 30 minutes against Boston.
“If I wanted to stay, I could’ve stayed in there. It was my choice,” Brodeur said. “No use staying in there when we’re struggling.”
Except for a brief stint with the Devils in 1991-92, Brodeur’s goals-against average has never been higher than 2.45. His current GAA is 3.60 and his .884 save percentage is a long way from the .917 mark he posted in 2003-04.
“He’s still the best goalie in the league, but even the best goalies don’t always have their best night,” Devils coach Larry Robinson said. “If you’re not having the best night, why prolong it? We had to get (backup Scott Clemmensen) some games. At that point we were also hoping it would give the other guys a lift.”
Brodeur shouldn’t mind facing the Panthers. He is 24-8-7 with a 1.96 GAA in 39 career games against Florida.
“I kind of fell funny and tweaked my groin,” White said. “I felt an instant shot of pain. I wasn’t going to push it.”
Fatigue could be a factor for the Panthers, who will be playing the second of back-to-back games and their third contest in four days.
Florida had its worst performance of the season in a 4-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday, getting outshot 49-23.
“If you let their best players take one-timers from the slot, they’re going to go in,” Luongo said. “Five-on-three is a tough situation for everybody.”
Luongo, 2-3 since opening the season with consecutive shutouts, is 3-10-0 with a 3.17 GAA in 13 career starts against the Devils.
The Panthers are tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the Southeast Division despite scoring only 13 goals—second-fewest in the Eastern Conference to New Jersey (12).