Rich Chere posted during the game that should Martin Brodeur go on to win, it would be his 43rd win over the Flyers, his ninth shutout against Philadelphia, his 547th career win, and his 100th shutout.
Martin Brodeur didn't disappoint as he earned his fourth shutout of the season and, well, his hundredth career shutout in a 3-0 win over Philadelphia. This is a big deal. Only Terry Sawchuk has more than 100 career shutouts with 103. It is only a matter of time for Brodeur to exceed that mark. That's why it's the first story at NHL.com right now. That's why Gulitti's post game quotes state how remarkable that it happened. And against a rival!
Brodeur only faced 3 more shots on net than he did against Colorado, but the 27 the Flyers' put on net were more dangerous. The Flyers' offense challenged Martin Brodeur to make some tough saves and he did so all day long. His most impressive save, I think was where he just slid across the crease and denied a Flyer goal with his leg. It's not like the Flyers were like Colorado and didn't put good shots on net. They just couldn't be Brodeur. This milestone was clearly earned with excellent goaltending.
My thoughts continue after the jump. For additional thoughts check out the following: Rich Adragna's recap - an excellent FanPost, if I do say so myself. IPB did a liveblog and they are very pleased with what transpired today. Broad Street Hockey should have something up later today for the Flyers' side of this game; though I can't imagine it'll be all that positive given today's result.
The Devils' defense was excellent in cleaning up most of the rebounds. The Flyers had very few rebounds to put on net, and in those rare cases that they did - Brodeur essentially said no. They were also excellent at keeping the Flyers' power play, um, powerless for a second straight game. The Flyers only had 2 and a few shots on net. Yet, the most dangerous play during those situations was when Brendan Shanahan went in alone with the puck, stiff-armed a defenseman to cut inside, and tried to go top shelf with one hand on the stick (he missed).
This brings me to the offense. Only Bryce Salvador, who had a good game in his own end, was the only Devil to not have registered a shot on net. It was open season on Martin Biron. The Flyers defense was definitely broken, but Biron came up huge on a number of those scoring chances. With an astonishing 42 shots on net coming from nearly everyone, Biron had to be huge! The finishing only led to three goals, but it easily could have been much more if it weren't for Biron and his quick glove hand.
Unfortunately, unlike the other Martin in this game, he did get beat. Zach Parise didn't score but he set up Jamie Langenbrunner beautifully in the first period. He just fired it in on the one-timer and Biron had no real chance. The game's first goal on the game's first shot. The Flyers' weren't too detered but it was a sign that it was going to be a long day for Biron.
In the second, Johnny Oduya decided to make a statement that it was going to be a good day for him. He took a great slapshot that was tipped in by Brian Gionta. The goal came quickly in the second period, but it was a long time coming for Gionta. It was his first since February 15 against San Jose, his second in the last 10 games. Hopefully, he gets a little confidence out of it and can be more lethal with his shots in future games.
But, again, I didn't mention Johnny Oduya specifically for no reason. While Brodeur and the defense were keeping the score, 2-0, Oduya went on to truly ice the game in the third period with this fantastic effort. Here, have a video, courtesy of DevilsNJ4 at Youtube:
Parise isn't the only one on this team with highlight reel goals! Everything about this goal was excellent. The decision to move up in the neutral zone, how he received the puck, how he allowed enough space between him and the defender when he did shoot it, and his skill in placing that shot. Just a wonderful goal! Great job, Johnny!
The only thing not wonderful about the Devils' offense today was the power play. Overall, the Devils didn't seem to take advantage of the man advantages; especially the ones in the second period. Most notably, they had a 5-on-3 for a little over a minute and did very little with it. If there's something they should work on from today's game, I'd say it was the power play.
However, that's really not a big deal when you consider the Devils did nearly everything else so well. This game confirmed that the Devils are, in fact, rolling. Their offense is aggressive and, dare I say it, relentless as of late. Their defense is tight and forced oppositions to change things up to beat them. Lastly, and most importantly, we learned that not only does Martin Brodeur still "have it" but that's he's among the best ever with "it."
Congratulations to Martin Brodeur on his 100th shutout. He earned it just as the Devils earned their big win over the Flyers. Now, the Atlantic Division remains in the Devils' hands.