January did not end so well for Martin Brodeur or the New Jersey Devils. The team's first game in February wasn't much better, to be frank. But from that game onward, the Devils got hot. They scored quite a few goals, they strung six wins in a row, and followed up the loss that broke that streak with a big comeback win against the Second Rate Rivals. While the Devils weren't perfect by any means, the team was doing well and by extension, so was Martin Brodeur. However, Brodeur's February was cut short due to injury as he didn't even finish the pre-game warm-up before the February 24 game to Winnipeg. We now know he suffered from back spasms and he would not return until close to a month later.
|February 2013 - Martin Brodeur||8||483||5||2||1||18||2.23||200||182||.910||0|
Nevertheless, Brodeur did appear and start in eight games in February. As his stats for the month show, he wasn't too bad. A 91% overall save percentage isn't that great, but it wasn't as if teams lit him up regularly. In fact, he only allowed more than three goals in game only once in this past February. However, goalies get marked against for any goal allowed regardless of whether he faces ten or forty shots and regardless of whether it's a late consolation goal or a part of a blowout loss. In order to get more information about what happened, let's review the eighteen goals Brodeur allowed and discuss what happened.
About the Review
But, first, the usual explanation of what it is that I'm doing. 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 change 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. Breakaways are done on a case-by-case basis; there I usually look to see whether the goalie has at least made an effort. I do expect the most disagreement with them.
In addition, there are other traits I've recorded I have denoted skater errors by player and scoring chance. I assign a skater error by name under "Errors" if the player did something significantly wrong that led to the goal such as a turnover or not covering their man. It's arguable that all goals allowed have an error or some kind; these are for the egregious mistakes made. If it's something like a bad line change, I'll use "Bench." As for scoring chances, that's dependent on where the shot was fired. Anything between the two faceoff dots towards the top of the crease would count. Anything outside of that has not. I've erred against counting a chance if it's borderline, for what it's worth. I also denote the general position of where the shot beats the goaltender relative to the goaltender's position.
Lastly, 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 when you click on them.
The 18 Goals Allowed by Martin Brodeur in February 2013: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video||Errors||SC?||Sit.|
|2/2||13||Between the pads||Sutter gets around Larsson, takes a slot in the shot. Crosby and Sutter each get a chance at rebound; Sutter gets it up and in between the pads.||No||Link||Larsson||Yes||ES|
|2/2||14||Between the legs||Volchenkov botches a pass for a giveaway right to Kunitz. Kunitz one-times the turnover through the five-hole.||No||Link||Volchenkov||Yes||ES|
|2/2||15||High over the glove||Kunitz gets the puck in the corner and finds Letang in the high slot. Letang aims and fires through a Zidlicky screen for a score.||No||Link||Zidlicky||Yes||ES|
|2/2||16||Over the glove, past the shoulder||After Henrique lost it at blueline, Zidlicky caught up in zone, and Pens counter with a Crosby-led 2-on-1. Crosby went to the dot and sniped a shot in.||Yes||Link||Zidlicky||Yes||ES|
|2/2||17||Between the legs||Crosby takes a loose puck from Barch and fires it to Bortuzzo at the center point. Bortuzzo takes a slapshot, it touches off Josefson's stick, and goes in.||No||Link||Barch||No||ES|
|2/5||18||Under the right arm||Richards gets it forward to Kreider on the right wing. He snipes one through the tiny hole under Brodeur's right arm as he went to stand at the post.||Yes||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|2/7||19||Over the blocker||Brodeur plays a dump-in off the boards, which St. Louis gets instead of Gionta. St. Louis feeds Thompson in the slot, who fires a laser over the blocker.||Yes||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|2/7||20||Over the glove||St. Louis wins a puck in the corner and Carle gets loose to the right dot. Pass, one-timer, score.||No||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|2/9||21||Between the legs||Kennedy sets up Despres for a one-timer slapshot from the right point. Sutter tips it in among traffic.||No||Link||--||No||PP|
|2/12||22||On the left flank||Corvo passes it to Jokinen open at the left dot after a faked shot. Jokinen one-times it past Greene and Brodeur's flank.||No||Link||--||Yes||PP|
|2/12||23||Over the glove||Faulk sets up Harrison for a slapshot from the center. Dwyer tips it in along the way past Brodeur.||No||Link||Greene||No||ES|
|2/12||24||By the shoulder of a kneeling Brodeur||Canes rush up after a thwarted SH chance. Devils get back but E. Staal finds Tlusty open by the net. He finds the hole in traffic to score.||No||Link||
|2/15||25||Off the right pad, through five hole||Simmonds parked in front of Brodeur picks up a short rebound, turns, and backhands it in off the inside of the left pad||No||Link||Salvador||Yes||PP|
|2/15||26||High over the glove||Knuble gets it in the high slot. He fires it past Gionta's block and gets through just as Volchenkov skates in front of Brodeur.||No||Link||Volchenkov||Yes||ES|
|2/15||27||Past the right shoulder||Fayne gives it away to Giroux in the left circle. Giroux fires a pass to Read across the slot for a one-timer goal.||No||Link||Fayne||Yes||ES|
|2/18||28||High over a fallen Brodeur||Turris keeps the puck in and fires it low to Silfverberg. Brodeur stops it but rebound goes to the slot for Alfredsson. With no one on him, lifts a backhander over a fallen Brodeur.||No||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|2/21||29||Over the left shoulder||Brouwer gains the zone and torches two Devils, cuts across the slot, and takes a shot. An uncovered Perreault cleans up the rebound.||No||Link||
|2/21||30||Under the right pad||Brouwer feeds Ribeiro by the crease. He comes out to the slot, turns, and fires one low and in.||Yes||Link||Salvador||Yes||PP|
Relative Location of the 18 Goals Allowed
All locations listed are relative to Brodeur himself, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net.
If last month was the month to go low on Brodeur, then this was the month to go high. While Brodeur did allow six low goals - mostly through his legs or under his pads - nine came up high. A majority of them came over the glove and left arm, but there were a couple that went blocker side with one backhander up and over a Brodeur that dove. High shots can be difficult, especially those coming in close as trying to get one's shoulder up or pull their glove in can be awkward and/or slow. They're also difficult shots for the shooter as the margin of error is usually pretty small. Quite a few of the high shots were well placed, so feel free to give plenty of credit to the scorer on several of those goals.
Over all eighteen goals, I counted four soft goals. Those goals were GAs # 16, 18, 19, and 30. Also known as the fourth goal allowed in a 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh, the only goal allowed to Our Hated Rivals on 2/5, the first goal allowed in a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay, and the second power play goal conceded to Washington on 2/21, which turned out to be Brodeur's final game of the month. Four soft goals out of eighteen isn't too bad, I don't think it's not a cause for alarm. Given that the first of the four was just a part of a rout by the Pens and the second was a consolation goal, it's hard to get too mad about them - especially in retrospect. After a short January with four soft goals, maintaining that same amount while performing more games is a good thing.
Still, they were goals that could have been stopped. For GA #16, Brodeur had a clear view of the puck. He knew Crosby was coming in and cutting towards the middle, and the shot just beat him clean. I know it's Crosby, but it wasn't impossible to stop. I tagged GA #19 since Brodeur helped make the play possible. On a dumped in puck, Brodeur played it off the boards. However, it gave the Bolts their chance at the puck. Stephen Gionta couldn't get it, Martin St. Louis easily took it, and he found Nate Thompson in the slot, who curled out after St. Louis won it. Pass, shot, score, and I'm wondering why Brodeur didn't just play that up the boards instead off of it. The final goal allowed of the month, GA #30, just squirted under Brodeur's pads. Mike Ribeiro impressively pulled back into the slot and fired a low one that Brodeur should have had. He thought he had it, actually. But his right pad wasn't completely on the ice and that's how it got in. Those are pretty straight forward.
The one that I may have been a bit harsh on was GA #18. Brad Richards gained the zone and because it was a counter-attack, he had Chris Krieder to his left with loads of space. He hit Kreider with a leading pass, Kreider cuts in a bit, and fires one under Brodeur's right arm. It wasn't a large gaping hole at all, as Brodeur was standing up. Kreider really got fortunate he threaded the puck through. However, I counted it soft because Brodeur was slow to covering the post. He started to go across after Kreider got the puck, but he didn't get fully set by the time he came in close for the shot. While the space was small and closing, there shouldn't have been any space on the short side. I think that's why Brodeur looked unhappy with himself after the goal despite Chico stating it was an impressive shot so he shouldn't feel so bad. It was both, really, and looking back at it now with fresher eyes and less emotion helped me realize that.
In the same vein, I changed my mind from what I originally thought about two other goals allowed from this month. I was critical in the past of GA #22, in which Jussi Jokinen converted a power play on Brodeur's left flank. Even as the pass went across, Brodeur didn't react which just made the net that much more open for Jokinen. I didn't tag it as soft because there's no guarantee Brodeur would have stopped it had he turned or motioned over faster. It would have made it more possible, but the general idea is that a soft goal is one that should have been stopped. Let's consider the hypothetical that Brodeur slid over and got beat on the same shot, I wouldn't call it a soft goal as it's a challenge for a goalie to immediately turn and hope he gets in front of a one-timer. If you feel I'm being too generous about this goal allowed and too harsh about GA #18, then feel free to switch the two in your mind. The other goal allowed I originally thought Brodeur should have stopped was GA #26. At the time, I thought Brodeur could have done much better on a shot Mike Knuble took some time to shoot. However, in this review, I noticed that as Knuble shot the puck, Anton Volchenkov decided to skate in front of Brodeur to go after a Flyer not at all involved in the play. By the time A-Train got out of Brodeur's vision, the puck was just about to go over the goal line. That was definitely not a soft goal.
Overall, Brodeur was subject to a very poor performance in Pittsburgh on February 2 featuring two errors by Marek Zidlicky, an atrocious giveaway by Anton Volchenkov that literally set up Chris Kunitz' scoring GA #14 (I think it's still worse than Mark Fayne on GA #27), and a rare Krystofer Barch appearance that led to GA #17. From then on, the Devils played better, and Brodeur was pretty good about not letting things get out of control in terms of goals allowed. The first period of the Flyers game on 2/15 was a nightmare, but the team responded well then. Outside of that first game, which was much more of the team faltering than Brodeur failing, I think most fans will take thirteen goals allowed out of seven games - even if three of them shouldn't have happened.
There was a string of goals allowed without a discernible skater error, but there were some really notable ones. Back when the penalty kill was struggling, I essentially broke down GAs #24, 25, and 29 to highlight what went wrong. I recommend reading those to get a handle on what went awry. I was surprised to find that no one really made a critical error on GA #28, even though the scorer was wide open in the slot. Ottawa managed to keep it in, throw it forward, get a good bounce to lead to an even better finish. No one really did anything wrong unless I'm missing something obvious in the video.
In terms of other totals, that seven of the eighteen goals were on the power play, there were no shorthanded goals allowed, and fifteen of the eighteen goals allowed were shots that could be deemed scoring chances. Those three were all long shots deflected in - two by the opposition (GAs #21 and 23) and one accidental one by a Devil (GA #17). One could argue that Matt Carle's one-timer at the dot for GA #20 would be a fourth given that it looked like Jacob Josefson ramped up the puck when he stretched at it. I couldn't really tell so I didn't note that. Still, it's really not a shock that a vast majority of the goals allowed came from dangerous areas in this month.
Now you've read the charts, you've seen some or all of the videos, and you've read the commentary. What do you think of Brodeur's February in retrospect? Would you agree Brodeur performed better after that first rout by Pittsburgh? Which goals did you think Brodeur should have stopped? Does this look back after the season put this month in better perspective? How do you think things would have turned out if Brodeur didn't get injured? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Brodeur's performance in February in the comments. Thank you for reading.