Martin Brodeur was struggling to start the season.
He missed the end of the preseason after the death of his father. Beyond emotional, he seemed like he needed to get in the groove of the season after coming back. He posted bad games against the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators. It got to the point that Brodeur told the media that he thought it was clear that Cory Schneider was the starting goaltender for the New Jersey Devils.
However, he is starting to look like the player that Devils fans have been used to seeing. Take the last five periods of hockey for Brodeur. After the first period against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, he has a .971 save percentage. He looks like he did at the beginning of last year. He is a brick wall in net, and he is even making saves he isn’t supposed to make. He is stopping the one timers, rebounds and breakaways.
That is what has been missing from the goalies thus far this season. Before this, they could not help out their defense if they were caught out of position. Of course, you can’t expect them to stop everything, but Brodeur has picked up his team every time they needed him.
The defense needs to get some credit for last night, as well. They blocked shots, caused the Tampa Bay Lightning stars to make mistakes and held one of the best offensive teams in the league to only 17 shots. This was a full-team effort, possibly the first game you could give that notion all season.
There was very little doubt in most whether Brodeur would play better. There was no way he could play worse. He seems to be back into his routine and is continuing on the right track. When Schneider comes back later in the week, with how good he was playing prior to his injury, the Devils could get to where fans thought they would be all along. They could go back to the best two-goalie tandem in the league.
As long as they keep winning, that is all that fans and the team cares about. If they can keep teams out of the back of the net like they have in the past five periods, then they are going to see the wins pile up.