While the last two games haven’t been pretty, the New Jersey Devils have at least a point from four straight games since the return of goaltender Martin Brodeur. After winning two games while only allowing two goals (and scoring one), Brodeur has allowed six goals on only 39 shots in the last two games. While the team can’t be thrilled about letting two points slip away in shootout losses to the Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning, they once again look like a playoff team and continue to collect points that could be critical in the race to the postseason.
One thing become crystal clear while Brodeur was sidelined: without their star goaltender, the Devils are not a playoff team. As long as Brodeur can stay healthy the rest of the way, the Devils should have no problem hanging on to one of the top eight spots in the conference. As they showed last year, just getting into the playoffs may be enough, as Brodeur seems to consistently find a different gear in the postseason, and will likely be playing with extra motivation knowing his career likely won’t last much longer.
Brodeur has only lost in regulation twice this season, and sports an overall 10-2-5 record. His 2.18 goals-against average places him in the league’s top ten, a spot he is more than familiar with. Backup Johan Hedberg lost ten games while Brodeur was out, while only winning three games. With Brodeur back, things are definitely looking up for the Devils and the points should keep coming.