Before the All-Star game the Devils were playing better than the year before but not at the "elite" level that Peter DeBoer said they were playing. Since the All-Star break the Devils have been fighting amongst the Atlantic Division for the 4th through 6th seeds in the Eastern Conference. Currently the Devils sit at the 6th seed, but there is still quite a bit of hockey left to play.
The Devils are winning more than they were before the All-Star break. What has been a big difference since the All- Star break? The Devils have been scoring more and playing an all around better game, most nights. Watching the Devils play last night, I really tried to pick out what has been a key difference. Being a lifelong Devils fan, I was used to Martin Brodeur playing great, so it was really hard to tell that he is playing better because that is the Marty we all are used to. So I looked up Marty's stats before and after the All-Star break and got some interesting results. Of course I'll present these results after the jump.
Brodeur is not only playing significantly better, but the team as a whole is playing better. Brodeur looks more confident in net and is making those saves that make you wonder if he can secretly defy physics with those diving saves. He also looks comfortable playing the puck and trusting his defensemen. I think Brodeur was a little hesitant to play the puck before he knew some of the defensemen would be there to save him if he botched the pass slightly.
Before the All-Star game, Marty played in 29 games and only managed to win 14 of them. This resulated in a measly winning percentage of .483, clearly not sustainable. Marty was also allowing 2.69 goals per game. Not the Marty we are all used to. Marty's save percentage was equally horrible. He held a .894 save percentage. Very sub par for the goaltender who holds the record for most NHL wins.
After the break, Marty really stepped up his game. Brodeur is allowing 1.94 goals per game and has a .925 save percentage. This is vintage Brodeur, just in time for the St. Patricks day throwback game! Brodeur has also pulled off a shutout in the 18 games since the all-star break. That shutout was against the best team in the East, the New York Rangers. I'm sure that shutout felt good for Marty and the team. Also, notice the winning percentage Brodeur has since the break, .611 , a solid winning percentage. If the Devils keep this up, a playoff run is inevitable.
I also took the time to extrapolate Brodeur's numbers after the break to 29 games to see how it compares. At the 18 game, post All-Star game rate, Marty would allow 47 even strength goals and 8 powerplay goals compared to the 60 and 10 he allowed in his first 29 games.
So, the real question is: what did Brodeur do over the All-Star break?
I have no idea, but whatever it is, I'm glad he did it.