The 13th Time is Not a Charm, Brodeur and Devils Fall in Another Shootout
After the Devils failed to win against the Calgary Flames on Monday, it was only a question of time before their playoff hopes fizzled. When Columbus beat Phoenix and Dallas in back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday, it was finally set in stone that the Devils would miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year. This did not sit well with Devils legend Martin Brodeur; the famed goalie commented, “We used to be a team that didn’t hover above .500. We’ve been content; that’s an attitude we’ve never had before and it needs to be addressed.”
It’s hard to blame Brodeur for the team’s woes. He’s getting up there in age, isn’t playing as much, and his teammates aren’t scoring enough in front of him and his counterpart, Cory Schneider. The Devils could have helped themselves by scoring some goals in the shootout, but as they entered Thursday’s game versus The Ottawa Senators 0-11 on the season, not many were surprised that by the end of Friday’s contest against the New York Islanders, the Devils were 0-13 for the season in shootouts.
Perhaps the Devils hoped that once they were out of reach of the playoffs their fortunes would turn around, but that was just not meant to be. This winless shootout streak stretches back through last season: the team is 0-17 since March 15, 2013. In their unlucky 13 shootouts this year, the Devils scored only four times, and two of the four came in one shootout against Buffalo! A truly crazy thing about this scoreless streak is that the Devils actually led the NHL in shootout wins prior to the 2013-14 season with 56 wins in 96 games played.
I thought head coach Pete DeBoer might pull Brodeur from the net late in the overtime if the Devils had possession in the Islanders’ zone — just to avoid the shootout — but that never happened. The Islanders broke out some nice spin-o-rama moves to fool Brodeur (which were likely not strictly legal), but the refs let it go and the Isles scored on all three attempts.
Lost in all of this shootout nonsense is that this may be the way Martin Brodeur’s career in a Devils uniform ends. However, nothing is confirmed as to who will start in goal for Sunday’s game. The fans who showed up to the Prudential Center Friday night deserve a ton of credit. The team was out of contention, yet they were loud in their lively “Mar-Tee” chants on every Brodeur save chance. I’ll bet the noise would have amped up even more if the Devils pulled won in the shootout.
The fans, the shootout streak, maybe a final turn in net for Brodeur, and the definite last game for the retiring Chico Resch, the long- time Devil’s broadcaster, all get a final chance to shine on Sunday. The Boston Bruins show up at the Prudential Center at 3:00 pm EST; if you cannot get to the game, it will be broadcasted on MSG. With all that is going on (despite no playoffs), it is sure to be a fun game to watch and perhaps celebrate with a team that’s shooting to end the season on some high note.