When Martin Brodeur was placed on IR, the New Jersey Devils were on fire. The Devils were atop the Eastern Conference, fresh off an impressive home-and-home sweep over the now-dominant Pittsburgh Penguins. A return to the playoffs was practically assured for New Jersey, barring the catastrophic collapse that took place in Brodeur’s absence.
Since Brodeur’s injury, the New Jersey Devils have fallen out of the top eight and are on the outside of the NHL playoff hunt. After losing nine of ten, including a six-game slide when Brodeur first went down, the Devils are reeling. With Marty returning to the crease on Thursday, look for the Devils to return to form.
It’s nothing against Johan Hedberg, a capable backup and great guy; He’s just not the greatest goaltender who ever lived.
When the Devils needed a big save during their slump, they didn’t get it. As the offense faltered, the defense collapsed, and coaching failed to find the answers, Martin Brodeur could have made all the difference. With their legendary netminder returning to the ice, the Devils regain everything that was missing during their spiral.
Martin Brodeur is the reassuring presence that will restore confidence to a slumping hockey team. Brodeur is capable of making the big save to keep his team in a game, and also able to make the long pass to spur the offense. As one of the best puck-handlers in the game, he will make the slumping defense around him better, and guide the Devils back into the playoff hunt. All facets of the New Jersey Devils game will improve with Martin Brodeur back in net.
Look for New Jersey to get back to playing the style of hockey that had them winning consistently. Brodeur is the type of goalie capable of acrobatic, improbable saves – he practically specializes in two-on-one breaks. When the Devils get caught pinching in the offensive zone while aggressively pressuring opponents, Martin Brodeur can bail them out.
With Brodeur back in net, the Devils’ struggles will quickly end and New Jersey will surge back into playoff contention.