April 18, 2010
If anything, it was indicative of what Brodeur gave the New Jersey Devils and what they didn't give him in their 3-2 overtime loss in Game 3 to the Philadelphia Flyers. He bailed them out in the third period as wave after wave of Flyers attackers shot, cycled and pressured the Devils zone. The Flyers deserve a ton of credit for that attack; the Devils a ton of flack for their lack of counterpunch.
Brodeur's been maligned, and rightfully so, for inconsistent performances in the playoffs over the last few postseason. On Sunday night, he gave his team everything it needed to win, save for skating out of his crease and joining the offensive rush.
The Devils could have used him.
Jersey had three shots in the third period on Brian Boucher(notes) and then one in the overtime thanks to David Clarkson's(notes) penalty at 1:30 and Daniel Carcillo's(notes) game-winner at 3:35 . Boucher had his moments, but the Devils didn't test him at 5-on-5 and lacked the competitive fire they showed in Game 2. From Fire & Ice after the game:
"They took shots and we didn't," Langenbrunner said. "We passed up a lot of shots in the third period for whatever reason. We were trying to make plays back, trying to throw it across instead of throwing it on the net. We talked about that going into overtime, shooting the puck again. We didn't have enough time to do it, but we got away from that a little bit."
"We've got to work harder, that's the bottom line, including me," center Patrik Elias(notes) said. "That excitement, that drive we had in the last game, maybe we didn't have it tonight. We've got to have it every game. I felt like we didn't push ourselves enough. We didn't have enough offense going."
But that's the Playoff Devils, no matter the coach, no matter the Russian superstar acquired at the deadline. They had trouble putting together back-to-back efforts against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2009; against the New York Rangers in 2008; and against the Ottawa Senators in 2007. "We didn't just have it tonight" might as well be printed on those dopey towels they hand out at the arena.
As for the Flyers, Tim Panaccio has a good review of the game and the Flyers' effort, including the at-times preposterously bad officiating that affected both teams. Something to watch for Game 4: The Flyers' defense on home ice against the Devils' key players. Coach Peter Laviolette managed a strong game, leaving Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) and Patrik Elias shot-less overall and pointless at even-strength. Zach Parise(notes) was a minus-1 with 2 shots on goal as well.
Good night for the Flyers. Now they just have to see which Devils team shows up for the next battle.