If last night’s 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens was Martin Brodeur final game at the Bell Centre as a member of the New Jersey Devils, it was about as fitting an end as you could have imagined.
Over the years, we have seen it again and again. It doesn’t matter which team is on top in the standings. It doesn’t matter who is coaching. It doesn’t matter who else are wearing the jerseys. Out of the 20 games Brodeur has won in Montreal, most were mirror images of last night’s game.
The Devils take a lead, Brodeur makes some key saves and even though the game is within striking distance, the Canadiens can never get closer to taking over the lead.
It didn’t always appear it would end up that way, however. Max Pacioretty helped the Canadiens to an early 1-0 lead with a wrist shot over the shoulder of Brodeur which may have been the first time Montreal took an early lead on Brodeur on a clean shot off a rush.
After the Devils got goals from Jaromir Jagr, Eric Gelinas and Adam Henrique, Montreal seemed to get back within one when Brendan Gallagher put one passed Brodeur, but a controversial decision to reverse the goal on video review nixed that. The command centre believed that Gallagher turned to kick the puck with his right skate passed Brodeur.
Montreal would continue to get opportunities, but never really felt like they were close to beating Brodeur again. Really, close your eyes and point at a game in the goaltender’s history in Montreal or against the Canadiens and you could say just about the same thing. Brodeur made 29 saves on 30 Montreal shots.
It wasn’t all bad for Montreal, who was without David Desharnais. Rene Bourque actually had some opportunities, but was unable to capitalize on his six shots and really seems to be holding his stick tight. Lars Eller also seemed to re-energize Gallagher while subbing for Desharnais with him and Pacioretty.
Carey Price had little chance on the goals New Jersey scored, and was kicked in the head while Henrique put the third goal in the net.
This isn’t definitely Brodeur’s last game in Montreal but if he is back it is really unlikely that there would be a more fitting end to his career in the city. Unless of course, he got a shutout and scored a goal. That, though, might be too good to be true.