Reviewing the Goals Allowed by Martin Brodeur: February 2010

This is the fifth of a series of posts looking at all 168 goals that Martin Brodeur gave up in the 2009-10 season.  The intent of this series to identify what goals allowed were soft, where Brodeur was beaten, and any other additional information about how the goals got past Brodeur.

You can review the past four months consisting of 112 goals (66.67% of all goals allowed) in the previous four posts in this series: October 2009; November 2009; December 2009; and January 2010.  I've already done the 2010 playoffs with this review back in April, so check that out if you're curious about the postseason.  

Today's focus is on the worst month the Devils have had in the 2009-10: February.  With the 2010 Winter Olympics, it was a short month and it will be remembered for two things.  The first was the big trade to acquire Ilya Kovalchuk (and Anssi Salmela). The second was how the Devils have played in that short month. 7 games, 2 wins, and a lot of concern at the time.   As the team suffered, so did Brodeur's numbers in the 6 games he played in that month:


GP W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
February 2010 -Martin Brodeur 6 2 3 1 18 3.14 140 122 87.1%
0

Anytime a goalie puts up a save percentage well below 90% across a month is certainly something awful.  It's the worst monthly stats Brodeur would have all season.  Given that Brodeur played in 52 games going into the month, one may conclude by the numbers that Brodeur was either in a slump or perhaps needed a rest to improve his performance.   A sub-90% save percentage in general for any goaltender is a cause for concern, why should Brodeur be any different?

However, a look at each of the goals Brodeur gave up in this month would lead one to a different conclusion.  Please set your viewing to "Wide" and continue after the jump to see them for yourself:

As I stated last week, all videos come from NHL.com. Links are provided for your own curiosity and convenience, so if you disagree with me on a certain goal or if I made an error in what I found, you can check it out for yourself.  Do note that I am only looking at his performance for the New Jersey Devils, not his performance for Team Canada at the Olympics.

Also, as a refresher, here's how I'm defining a "soft" goal: I watch how the shot came through Brodeur and determine whether Brodeur really should have stopped the puck.  This means he must have seen the shot coming, the shot was not deflected or change otherwise in motion, he was in position to actually make the stop, and  whether Brodeur made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal (meaning: it wasn't a difficult shot to stop).  If all were true, then I deemed the goal as "soft."  Again, I've included links to all the goals against so you can make your own judgment.

That all, said, here's the chart for all goals allowed by Martin Brodeur in February 2010.

The Chart for February 2010

Date GA# Where Beaten? Goal Description Soft Goal? Video Link
2/5/2010 113 High, left side, through screen Kaberle winds up at the point, fires a slap shot through traffic, possibly hit a Devils stick, over Brodeur's glove and in. PPGA No Link
2/5/2010 114 Low, through legs Stempniak fires from above right circle, gets puck through Brodeur's legs. PPGA Yes Link
2/5/2010 115 Low, through legs, screened by White Langenbrunner and White collide to fumble puck; Wallin takes loose puck at high slot, fires it low to beat Brodeur. No Link
2/6/2010 116 Low, right side, on flank Callahan finds Gaborik wide open at the crease on Brodeur's flank, a simple pass to him, and Gaborik slides it in. PPGA No Link
2/6/2010 117 High, over left shoulder Mottau tries to clear puck up middle, gets picked off by Callahan, who fires it above the slot and beats Brodeur high. Possibly screened No Link
2/6/2010 118 Middle height, past right arm, screened Drury gets puck in slot, draws Fraser in front of him, he's going right so he shoots to his left, off the post and in. Brodeur couldn't see past Fraser No Link
2/8/2010 119 Middle height, past left arm, off deflection van Reimsdyk fires a shot through Greene's legs; hits his legs; so puck wobbles past Brodeur's glove and in. No Link
2/8/2010 120 Low, on right, on flank, off one-timer Pronger springs Hartnell and Carter in 2-on-1 with long pass; Hartnell passes puck through slot to Carter, who keeps it low and one-timed it on Brodeur's right flank No Link
2/8/2010 121 High, over right shoulder, off one-timer Richards right in front of Brodeur, gets pass from Timonen, and he one-times it point-blank to beat Brodeur. PPGA No Link
2/10/2010 122 Middle height, on left, deflected by Greene Asham fires below left faceoff dot, shot hits off Greene, forces puck to beat Brodeur's glove and in. No Link
2/10/2010 123 Middle height, past glove Carter fires a shot past Brodeur's left glove and it went in. Well-placed shot. No Link
2/10/2010 124 High, over left shoulder, through screen Gagne fires in the slot high. Brodeur is screened by Carter so he didn't see it elevate. It goes in. OT No Link
2/12/2010 125 High, top left corner O'Reilly gets puck in the slot, fires it top left corner, beating Brodeur's glove. PPGA No Link
2/12/2010 126 Middle height, between blocker and pad Tootoo fires from above the slot, and it beats Brodeur between his right arm and leg.  Should have been stopped Yes Link
2/13/2010 127 Over Brodeur's body, slides into net Comedy of errors by the defense leads to scramble; Brodeur makes first few stops, but Boychuk puts it up and over sprawling Brodeur, trickling into net No Link
2/13/2010 128 Middle height, to his left, off one-timer Staal finds Whitney in the right circle for a one-timer. Whitney buries it past a sliding Brodeur. PPGA No Link
2/13/2010 129 Low, middle, off loose puck that hit the post and his back Gleason's shot beats Brodeur low to his left but only hits the post. The puck bounces off Brodeur's back, Whitney beats everyone to poke it in. PPGA No Link
2/13/2010 130 Middle, past right side, off one-timer Jokinen is fed a cross-slot pass by Whitney, Jokinen fires a one-timer at right faceoff dot to beat Brodeur. No Link

 

Commentary

Amazingly, this month has featured not only the fewest amount of soft goals Brodeur has allowed (2), but the lowest ratio of soft goals to total goals so far in this month-by-month review (11.11% or 1 to 9).   If Brodeur was slumping or was getting fatigued, then wouldn't one expect him to give up more soft goals? Goals that he otherwise would stop if he wasn't in a funk or in need of a rest? The falling save percentage and ballooning goals against average would suggest that conclusion, but a qualitative look at the goals against suggest the exact opposite.

Truth be told, this is not the first time I came to this conclusion. Way back on February 17, I've looked at all of these goals and came to a similar conclusion.  Two of them (Goals# 114 and 126 here) were soft; Brodeur should have stopped him.  However, in this second look back at all of the February goals against, I found that was as many as goals allowed on Brodeur's flank - in positions Brodeur could not stop the shooter from scoring (Goals# 116, 120).  There were more due to the result of a screen on Brodeur (Goals# 113, 115, 118, 124); as well as one-timers (Goals#  120, 121, 128, 130).  

I think a more realistic conclusion about Brodeur's performance must involve the phrase "hung out to dry."   There were several goals against that were the result of some abysmal play by the guys in front of Brodeur.  Ray Whitney's first goal was helped out by Travis Zajac going to the bench without the puck being cleared during a 5-on-3 PK (Goal# 128).  Ryan Callahan's long range shot doesn't happen if Mike Mottau didn't fire the puck up the middle in his own zone (Goal# 117).  I'm still wondering how there can be four Devils around the crease area and just watched as Kimmo Timmonen fed Mike Richards right in front of Brodeur's crease on a power play (Goal# 121).  Colin White and Jamie Langenbrunner's miscommunication led to a turnover right in Brodeur's slot (Goal #126); and that wasn't even the worst defensive play that cost the Devils this month.  It's a runner up to whatever in the world Anssi Salmela was (or was not) thinking in his own zone during the Carolina game (Goal #127). Even on the first soft goal, Lee Stempniak took the puck from the right side boards and carried it all the way to the left circle before firing a shot with nothing done by the PK units (Goal #114).

My point is that February 2010 was a bad month for the Devils.  It wasn't due to Martin Brodeur suddenly becoming bad or overworked or fatigued.  Rather his awful monthly numbers were more of a result of bad breaks, bad bounces, and bad play by the other skaters.

Location of Goals Against

All locations are relative to Brodeur himself, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net.  It's pretty simplistic, but it'll do for general information.

Location Count % Total
Low Left 0 0.00%
Low Middle 4 22.22%
Low Right 2 11.11%
Middle Left 4 22.22%
Middle Middle 0 0.00%
Middle Right 3 16.67%
High Left 4 22.22%
High Middle 0 0.00%
High Right 1 5.56%

 

In this short month, no one particular location really sticks out as a popular place to beat Brodeur.   The five-hole and Brodeur's glove side off the ice stand out the most. Those three areas combine for 12 goals, or two-thirds of all goals given up this month.  However, as noted in earlier posts in this series as well as in this month's commentary, going goal-by-goal you'll find that it wasn't as simple of Brodeur just faltering in those spots.   They were largely not Brodeur's fault, it's just where they ended up.

Incidentally, this month saw a closer-to-even break down in terms of height: Brodeur was beaten 6 times low, 7 times at middle height, and 5 times high.   In that sense, I don't believe Brodeur struggled with any kind of height. And with the number of one-timers, goals off flanks, and so forth, opposition players found it fit to beat Brodeur to his left (8 goals) as well as to his right (6 goals), rather than the middle (4 goals).   Again, I think this is more coincidence as opposed to teams focusing on just beating Brodeur one way. 

Your Take

With the short month and the fact I looked at this month once before, there wasn't as much to review compared to the last two months.  Still, I'd like to hear what you think. Was there anything I missed?  Were you surprised that I only found two soft goals allowed?   Was there some other pattern among the goals allowed that you noticed?  Do agree with the conclusion that it's difficult to argue that Brodeur was tired at the time whilst not allowing so many soft goals?  If not, why not?   Please leave your answers as well as other relevant thoughts and questions in the comments. As usual, thank you for reading.

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