April 2011 signaled the end of a long, trying 2010-11 season. It started off awry as you can get with controllable (e.g. John MacLean) and uncontrollable (e.g. a team shooting percentage below 6%) issues in the first three months of season. The Devils were really playing for respectability as opposed to a playoff spot in the second half of the season. The team can claim success in that regard as the Devils managed to get out of the draft lottery by season's end.
With three sets of back-to-back games, the Devils decided to split it evenly for both goaltenders. Johan Hedberg got three games and did OK. The Devils won the first and the third, and didn't look so good against the Pens in the second. Martin Brodeur got three games and didn't do as well. The team got beat twice and he got lit up in the third game against Our Hated Rivals.
|April 2011 - Martin Brodeur||3||180||1
While the numbers certainly look poor, does this mean Brodeur really collapsed after such a great March? Fortunately, we can answer this question by looking at these 10 goals allowed themselves. For the last time, set your viewing to "wide," and please continue after the jump to review these 10 goals against.
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 change otherwise in motion; the goalie was in position to actually make the stop; and the goaltender made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal. If all were true, then I deemed the goal as "soft." In fact, the very last bit alone can make the difference between a soft goal or not.
I also want to highlight the last column in the following list: Skater Error. Did a Devils skater do something seriously wrong on the play that led to the goal? If so, their name (or names) end up on the chart. I could be picky and call them out for every goal, but I'm only highlighting who's actions or lack thereof contributed to the goal against. There will be goals where multiple skaters screw up, so you may see more than one name. I'm tracking this to see who was commonly at fault, assuming it means anything. As with the goals against themselves, feel free to discuss this too.
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.
The 10 Goals Allowed by Martin Brodeur in April 2011: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft Goal?||Video Link||Skater Error|
|4/2/2011||118||Over the glove||Gionta goes up the right side, passes it to Darch, who re-directs it on a sharp angle just over Brodeur's glove||No||Link|
|4/2/2011||119||Through the legs||Subban unloads a slapshot at the top of the point, Brodeur can't see it through a Kostitsyn screen PPGA||No||Link|
|4/2/2011||120||Past the right pad||Gionta goes up the left side, passes it to Darche, who re-directs it low past Brodeur's right pad||No||Link|
|4/6/2011||121||Through the legs||Lupul finds Kessel going to the slot alone, Kessel attempts a one-timer and goes through a lateral Brodeur PPGA||No||Link||Tallinder|
|4/6/2011||122||Over the right pad||Zajac bungles the faceoff win, puck goes back to Rolston who bungles it to Bozak. Bozak breaks away and puts a backhand over Brodeur's right pad 3on5 SHGA||No||Link||Zajac
|4/9/2011||123||Through the legs||Christensen's shot bounces off Leach, right to a cutting Drury, who then puts it in in between Brodeur's legs||Yes||Link|
|4/9/2011||124||Under the right arm||Line change without dump-in leads to a 2-on-1 led by Wolski. Wolski elects to shoot and beats Brodeur with a wrister||
|4/9/2011||125||Just over the glove||Gaborik finds McDonagh wide open in left circle. McDonagh fires it through some traffic and picks the corner||No||Link||Kovalchuk|
|4/9/2011||126||Through the legs||Dubinsky's shot is stopped, but a crashing Prust bangs it in between the legs||No||Link||Greene|
|4/9/2011||127||Over the blocker||2-on-1 led by Anisimov, who made the pass to Prospal, who one-times it past Brodeur||No||Link||Salmela|
In a short month of 3 games,10 goals allowed is quite a bit. Yet, as seen in every other month this season, the majority of them were not soft goals at all. I only counted
2 1 of the 10 goals allowed (GAs) to be a failure that should be laid at the skates of Brodeur. Both of them The lone soft goal came in his last appearance in 2010-11, the April 9th game against the Rangers. It wasn't a very good game in general. The last time he was lit up for 5 goals in a game was on December 23, 2010; Jacques Lemaire's first game as interim head coach of the team.
Back in my recap, I thought GA #126 was soft and possibly GA #123 too. Upon this review, I didn't count GA #126 against Brodeur since the goal came off a close rebound by a player Andy Greene should have covered properly. I did count GA #123 as soft since I'm not sure why Brodeur made the move he did when Drury was laterally coming into the slot.
I also added GA #124 as soft since Brodeur had Wojtek Wolski the whole way on the 2-on-1 and just got caught with too much space between his right arm and pad. It wasn't a difficult shot and Brodeur should have had it, even though he was hung out to dry by the 2-on-1 that preceded the shot. Such is the benefit of having videos of all of these goals available, they allows us to see what went on after the emotions of the game have passed and make a clearer judgment.
UPDATE: Per KovyisLove and George E. Ays in the comments, both of them recalled Tallinder's stick deflecting Wolski's shot on the 2-on-1. After viewing the video just after their comments, I can agree that the blade of Tallinder's stick got a piece of that puck. It wasn't much in terms of contact, but it changed the path of the shot. To that end, I've changed my mind and I'm not calling GA #124 a soft goal as I do for most deflected shots.
That GA also stands out as having a whopping 4 skaters marked with an error. I had to tag all of them because they all decided to go for a line change without having possession or dumping it into New York's end. That was so stupid by itself, and it was made dumber when it left Henrik Tallinder and Brodeur at the Rangers' mercy with a 2-on-1 rush. I wanted to bang my head against a wall every time I watched that video. I didn't, but I wanted to. That said, it's not even the worst error from this month. That would have to be Travis Zajac and Brian Rolston misplaying the puck that led to Tyler Bozak scoring GA #122. Anytime you make two of the same error that leads to a 5-on-3 shorthanded goal, it's really bad. That too made me want to bang my head against a wall.
The rest of the month is pretty straight forward. Not much can be done about the two goals off screens in GAs #119 and 125. It was weird, but Mathieu Darche scored twice off deflections in the same game from the same feeder on GAs #118 and 120. The remaining two were one-timers by open players as shown in GAs #121 and 127.
Location of Goals Allowed
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.
Opponents didn't take it too high against Brodeur, which is a nice change of pace even considering he only played in 3 games. GAs through the legs jumped up a bit, but only one of them was soft. It's not anything to be totally concerned over.
Brodeur's 2010-11 didn't end well statistically. Sure, Brodeur really only had one game among these three that can be described as poor in April. Yet, since he only appeared in three games, that one game had to have a strong effect on his stats for the month. Nevertheless, most of the goals allowed in April were not soft goals or solely Brodeur's fault. That's been consistent throughout each month in his season. The same finding was held true for Hedberg's season too, come to think of it.
Anyway, I'll sum up all of the months in a post that should be up on Friday. In the meantime, please feel free to discuss how Martin Brodeur did in April in the comments. Perhaps you disagree with some of my findings, or you saw something or some larger point about this short month that I missed. Either way, thank you for reading.