Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Brodeur's gonna miss us when he's gone (Three Cups)

In Tuesday night's controversial 2-1 Devils victory in Philadelphia, Martin Brodeur recorded his 50th career regular-season victory against the Flyers in what could be his last appearance against the Orange and Black.

Let's take a look back at some milestones in the series between the two teams which involved the 41-year-old Montreal native and future Hall of Famer.

First Game, March 29, 1992 (Flyers 5, Devils 4): In this late-season Spectrum tilt, Brodeur, then a rookie who won his first two NHL starts, took over to begin the second period from starter Craig Billington, allowing four goals on 25 shots the rest of the way. Kevin Dineen recorded the game winner at the 6:40 mark of the third period, putting the hosts up 5-3.

First Win, March 30, 1995 (Devils 4, Flyers 3): Brodeur wasn't slotted in net for his entire true rookie season of 1993-94, during which he backstopped Jersey to the Eastern Conference Finals, but he managed to win the starting job from Chris Terreri -- who had done his part over the previous four years to torture lesser Flyers teams -- by the first lockout-shortened season. In the third of four meetings of '95, Brodeur stopped just 21-of-24 shots but was buoyed by first-period goals from John MacLean, Sergei Brylin and Stephane Richer.

First Shutout, October 27, 1997 (Devils 5, Flyers 0): Still the largest margin in a shutout victory by the Scouts/Rockies/Devils against the Flyers either at home or on the road, Brodeur had an easy time in his 20-save whitewash against the defending Eastern Conference champions. It was helped along by another three-goal first period, with markers by Doug Gilmour, Patrik Elias and Bobby Carpenter. It served as the first of many wake-up calls that the Post-Legion-of-Doom, Wayne Cashman era wasn't going to be a smooth ride.

10th Win, March 24, 1998 (Devils 3, Flyers 2): Finally, a milestone which took place at the Meadowlands. In the final meeting of 1997-98 between the eventual first and second place teams in the Atlantic Division, Brodeur halted 23 pucks -- yet couldn't stop Alexandre Daigle, who recorded Philly's lone two goals in the contest. Randy McKay outdid his opponent with a hat trick in support.

20th Win, November 7, 2002 (Devils 1, Flyers 0): In the midst of a personal four-game win streak and a personal-best three straight shutouts against his division rivals, Brodeur turned away all 23 shots Ken Hitchcock's club threw at him. Jamie Langenbrunner kept this game from being a scoreless deadlock, measuring Roman Cechmanek with 7:43 remaining in regulation.

30th Win, October 14, 2006 (Devils 3, Flyers 2): The first meeting of eight total that season saw Brian Gionta provided the difference maker early in the third period, snapping a 2-2 tie forged partially on goals by Mike Knuble. Yet Brodeur shut the door in the final 20 minutes, making five stops and 25 in all to preserve the narrow winning margin.

Brodeur Beats Bernie, April 5, 2007 (Devils 3, Flyers 2): One record we didn't think could be challenged was Bernie Parent's NHL mark of 47 wins in one season set during the first Stanley Cup year of 1973-74. And yet, it happened, in Philadelphia, with Brodeur doing the "honors" in front of 19,177 patrons who alternately booed lustily (for the home team) at yet another losing game during a lost season, or cheered at their own peril (for the victorious visitors) and the record having fallen into enemy hands after 23 years.

Soon-to-be-Flyer Jim Dowd picked up the winning score while shorthanded at 8:46 of the final stanza, and Brodeur made 13 of his 34 stops in the third to secure the victory. 

40th Win, January 4, 2008 (Devils 3, Flyers 0): For once, the eager visitors tipped the scales, outshooting New Jersey by a 36-26 margin and outplaying their foes. One problem: Brodeur was equal to all in recording yet another shutout, his eighth career clean sheet against Philadelphia.

10th Career Shutout, January 22, 2013 (Devils 3, Flyers 0): The Flyers could have grabbed a piece of The Rock, but it broke off and sent them careening into the open sea. The third of three straight losses to kick off the shortened 2013 sked, Brodeur shut the door on 24 shots by Peter Laviolette's club, Travis Zajac, David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk lit the red lamp at the other end, and Scott Hartnell went down with a broken foot.

50th Win, March 11, 2014 (Devils 2, Flyers 1): Brodeur was beaten twice, including the wiped-out potential tying goal with 40.1 seconds left by Hartnell, but it will go into the books as a win by stopping 30-of-31 shots and the only legit score by Nicklas Grossmann inside of a minute played in the second period. Zajac and Jaromir Jagr supplied the offense in support of the milestone.

Brodeur's greatest run of success against the Flyers occurred in an unreal period between April 1, 2006 and March 28, 2008. In that stretch, he finished 16-1-1 which included winning streaks of eight (4/1/06 to 2/1/07) and six starts (11/8/07 to 3/28/08), respectively.

In addition, over the entire course of his entire career, Brodeur only once failed to record a decision in a game he appeared -- a 2-1 loss in Philly on January 8, 2011 -- where he stopped all 19 shots he faced after starter Johan Hedberg allowed first-period goals from Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk.
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