The 2012 playoffs ended in a whimper for Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. However, Brodeur's play was the least of their problems. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
This is the final post of the review of every single goal allowed by Martin Brodeur in the 2011-12 season and 2012 playoffs. It hasn't been the best of seasons. It arguably hasn't been a very good season for Brodeur. However, the number of saves and overall performances improved after the All Star Game and Brodeur was solid at worst in the postseason. The goal is to get into the Finals and thanks in part to Brodeur, the New Jersey Devils did just that. Unfortunately, June would not end well. The Los Angeles Kings took them to the brink of a sweep, and while the Devils clawed two games back, the Kings ultimately earned their first Stanley Cup with a rout in Game 6. The Devils were outplayed with the exception of Martin Brodeur - despite his numbers.
|June 2012 - Martin Brodeur||5||313||2||3||0||13||2.49||125||112||.896||0|
Allowing 13 goals in five games doesn't look good in general, but I'd take these stats with a grain of salt. A population size of five games isn't large at all. In three games, Games 2, 4, and 5, the Devils weren't totally awful (note: I didn't say they were good, either) and Brodeur was stingy as he possibly could with only four goals allowed. These monthly numbers were skewed by two games: Game 3 and Game 6. Brodeur was lit up for nine goals total and the rest of the Devils were awful in both games. Despite what these numbers suggest, goaltending was the least of the team's concerns in the Stanley Cup Finals, even when Los Angeles was pounding New Jersey in possession and in the run of play.
The best way to show that is to look at the goals allowed. While it may not be pretty to rewatch, it's important to see what happened on these goals and ask the same questions that have been asked in the previous months of this season's review. How were these 13 goals scored? Were they from scoring chances? Did a skater make an egregious error on a goal allowed and who made it? What other observations can we make? For the final time in of this review of Martin Brodeur's goals allowed in 2011-12, please continue on after the jump to see links to each goal allowed and commentary on what happened in June.
About the Review
The main thing I'm looking for in this review are "soft goals," those goals against that should have been stopped by the goaltender. Here's how I am defining a soft goal: The goalie must have seen the shot coming; the shot was not deflected or changed otherwise in motion; the goalie was in position to actually make the stop; and/or the goaltender made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal. If the goal allowed qualifies, then I deemed the goal as "soft." In fact, the very last bit alone can make the difference in what is and is not a soft goal (e.g. GA #188 - yes, the last one Brodeur allowed in the 2012 playoffs).
In addition, I have denoted skater errors by player and scoring chances by "SC" in the goal description. I assigned a skater error if the player did something significantly wrong that led to the goal such as a turnover or not covering their man. As for scoring chances, that's dependent on where the shot was fired. Anything between the two faceoff dots from the top of the circles to towards the top of the crease would count. Basically, the graphic Jonathan Willis has in this article in the Edmonton Journal shows the area in question. Anything outside of that has not. I've erred against counting a chance if it's borderline, for what it's worth.
I have provided links to the video I looked at for each goal from NHL.com. These links will auto-play the video, so be forewarned before you click on them.
The 13 Goals Allowed by Martin Brodeur in June 2012: A Review
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video Link||Skater Error|
|6/2||176||Above the right pad||Doughty goes zone to zone, fires a shot that goes through Salvador's legs, off the far post and in. SC.||No||Link||Carter|
|6/2||177||Low, past the right arm||Carter recovers a rebound, curls towards the net and fires a shot through traffic that may have been deflected twice to win the game.||No||Link|
|6/4||178||Low, under the left pad||King gets a free shot in the slot and is stopped. His rebound is stopped. Martinez whacks at the puck underneath Brodeur's pad and it goes in. SC.||No||Link|
|6/4||179||Over the sliding right pad||Williams drops it to Brown, Brown sends it across the slot for a streaking Kopitar - who hammers a one-timer for a score. SC.||No||Link||Parise|
|6/4||180||Over the right shoulder||A failed clearance leads to Richards getting the puck in the corner. He sees Carter open for a pass; and Carter slammed it in near post. PPGA. SC.||No||Link||Zubrus
|6/4||181||Past the right side over the pad||Doughty feeds Williams across the zone. He dekes past Fayne, fires a shot, gets his own rebound, and knocks it back in. PPGA. SC.||No||Link||Fayne|
|6/6||182||Under the right arm||Kopitar wins the faceoff, Richards passes it to Doughty, Doughtly unloads a slapshot that gets through a screen. PPGA.||No||Link|
|6/9||183||Past the right side||Williams dashes into the zone, cuts to the high slot, and fires a perfectly placed shot past a moving Brown for a goal.||No||Link|
|6/11||184||Over the right pad||Doughty sees Brown cutting across the slot, feeds him, and Brown re-directs past Brodeur. PPGA.||No||Link|
|6/11||185||Over the left pad, under the glove||Richards wins the puck on the end boards and makes a pass to Brown. Brown curls, fires it to Carter - who tips it up and in. PPGA.||No||Link|
|6/11||186||On the left flank||King torches Fayne and lays the puck off Brodeur's pads. Lewis slams in the loose puck on the flank. PPGA. SC.||No||Link||Fayne|
|6/11||187||Over the left shoulder||Brown sees Carter streaking in from the bench and hits him with a pass. Carter touches it and fires a high wrister (ramped by Parise's stick) above the high slot.||No||Link|
|6/11||188||Over the glove||Greene stops Volchenkov's clearance and fires a wrist shot. And it just beats Brodeur.||Yes||Link||Volchenkov|
Location of Goals Allowed
All locations are relative to Brodeur's position, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net. It's simplistic and generalized, but it's good for getting a count on where Brodeur was beaten for goals. Unlike May, the Kings found some success with elevated shots, particularly to Brodeur's stickside.
Surprising to me as I was going through these goals, I only counted one soft goal allowed by Brodeur out of all 13 in June. It would be the last goal Brodeur would allow in this season, GA #188. An intercepted clearance got to Matt Greene who fired an unassuming wrist shot past Brodeur from the sideboards. That was a bad goal to allow. It was also an inconsequential goal as it put the Kings up 6-1 in a game they pretty much won at that point. Other than that, I didn't think the other goals allowed were ones Brodeur should have stopped.
I could see someone making a case for two more, both from Game 6: GAs #186 and 187. On the first one, Dwight King laid off the puck at the crease which slid across to Trevor Lewis for a goal. I could see someone wondering why Brodeur didn't try and stop it. As I saw it, it looked like a weird bounce off Brodeur's pads. I'm not going to count that against him. Additionally, that goal shouldn't have happened at all because the ref missed a blatant interference call on Jarret Stoll for essentially pinning Kovalchuk down away from the play. I was infuriated when that happened then, I'm not pleased with it now. As for GA #187, it was Jeff Carter's second goal of the night. After a dramatic stop by Brodeur on a play that began with Anton Volchenkov running into the linesman (really), Dustin Brown saw a wide-open Carter come off the bench and streak into the zone. While it was a clear shot, I didn't count it as soft since the shot came off a touch after the pass (a two-timer?) and the shot appeared to deflect up off Zach Parise's stick to give it further elevation. If you disagree with either, I understand. Do note that even if those goals didn't happen, the Devils probably still lose that game all things being equal since they mustered up one measly goal.
Anyway, without more than one soft goal to talk about, let's talk about the goals allowed in general. My, the Kings were strong in that series. While they only got 6 out of the 13 goals from scoring chances, they definitely made their point in the Devils' end. They utilized traffic very well. Look at the two goals they scored in Game 2. Drew Doughty scored on a wonderful individual effort on GA #176 with a shot that went in between Bryce Salvador's legs. The game winning GA #177 featured Carter firing through traffic and getting two deflections off two different Devils to beat Brodeur through traffic. The Kings' lone goals in Games 4 and 5 came off more classic screens. In Game 4, GA #182 was a bomb from the point by Doughty that just sailed perfectly through traffic. As for Game 5, Justin Williams tallied GA #185 when he fired a shot just as Brown was cutting across Brodeur. Now that I think about it, Brodeur was so good in those three games that he was only beaten when he couldn't see the shot clearly. It's not the greatest strategy to try all the time as it can lead to shots getting blocked down or miss entirely; but the Kings succeeded in that regard.
Game 3 was the first time the team got scored on four times since Game 1 against Philadelphia. None of those goals were soft ones and the team didn't use screens. GAs #179 and 180 were one-timers Brodeur had no chance on, GA #181 featured Williams beating Mark Fayne badly and putting back his own rebound at close range, and GA #178 was a jam play that Alec Martinez got lucky on. The lucky part was that the ref didn't blow the play dead. That play began with King getting denied in the slot and on a rebound attempt. The puck ended up underneath Brodeur's left pad, which meant it wasn't out in the open for the ref to see. Yet, Martinez whacked at it, it trickled in, and it counted. That goal was unfortunate, but the Kings' other three goals were indisputable. Four goals allowed, none were bad, and the Devils were creamed. That makes it look bad for a goaltender who really wasn't in that game.
The same followed for Game 6, where the Devils skaters played awful and Steve Bernier etched his name in the book of infamy. GAs #184, 185, and 186 were all scored during Bernier's major penalty and the first two of that trio were re-directions by the goalscorers. That's difficult for any goaltender to stop, especially with one less skater on the ice. The rest were discussed earlier and it should be noted that prior to GA #188, the Kings scored an empty net goal which really sealed the game. GA #188 was further icing on the sweetest cake the Los Angeles organization has ever baked.
Taken in this regard, it's evidence in my view that Brodeur was much better than the stats indicated for the month of June. The two games that slammed his numbers into the ground were just routs by Los Angeles. They were more indicative of the team's performance than Brodeur's own play - the goalie just suffered for it. The other three games were more reflective of how the goaltender performed in the month, in the Stanley Cup Finals, and in the playoffs as a whole. I think most the fanbase knows that, but I think it's good to emphasize it here when people look back at this part of the postseason run. They shouldn't ask, "What if Brodeur was better in the Finals?" but rather, "What if the Devils played better?" or "What if the Kings weren't hotter than a tire fire in the 2012 playoffs?" As dubious as Brodeur was in the 2011-12 regular season, he shined in the postseason and how he did in June supports that claim regardless of the team's losing series in the Finals.
Now that you've read the commentary on how Brodeur did in June and seen some or all of the goals allowed, I want to know what you think. Would you agree that Brodeur only let up one bad goal over all five games? Do you think he should have had some of others? If so, which ones? What do you remember from this end of the postseason about Brodeur's performance? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Brodeur did in June in the comments. Thank you for reading this last part of the review; the overall summary for Brodeur will come next week.