The month of November was a spotty one for the New Jersey Devils. It's easy to say that the 2011-12 season was a successful one now that it's July 2012, but back then, there was plenty to cause concern over whether it would be. The team went 8-6 and four of those eight wins came beyond regulation. While Adam Henrique began to emerge, there was concern on whether a line of Ilya Kovalchuk (who missed some games due to a groin pull), Zach Parise, and him would work. The team was getting pounded in third periods; the Devils got lit up in their first and last games of the month; and we got to see some real bad moments like Florida making up a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in regulation and Kovalchuk's turnover in his own end that led to a game winning shorthanded goal by the Islanders. We can say it's all no big deal now, but at the time, the worries were warranted to a point.
Martin Brodeur returned to active duty in November and, well, the numbers for the month were ugly.
|November 2011 - Martin Brodeur||10||600||5||5||0||31||3.10||271||240||.886||0
Brodeur's save percentage of 88.6% was his lowest in a month since last December and the 31 goals he allowed is tied for the most he has allowed in a month in the entire 2011-12 campaign. His return may have led to some impressive stops, but the overall picture isn't good at all. Even if you throw out that horrible 6-1 loss to Colorado at the end of the month, Brodeur's still just below a save percentage 90% and this is a league where 91% is considered decent.
However, does the low save percentage mean Brodeur has let up a lot of soft goals? Going back to last December when Brodeur had a vomit-inducing 85.3% save percentage, I only counted four soft ones in that horrid month. Was this month - his low point in 2011-12 - worse in terms of poor goals to allow? Of these 31, where did they get past Brodeur? How many of them came on scoring chances? To find out, set your viewing to wide and please continue on after the jump.
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/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. first goal against by Hedberg).
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 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.
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 31 Goals Allowed by Martin Brodeur in November 2011: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft Goal?||Video Link||Skater Error|
|11/2||5||Medium, right flank||Crabb bats in a shot by Lombardi at the right post on Brodeur's flank||No||Link||Carter
|11/2||6||Low, left flank||Gardiner fakes ths shot, passes it diagonal to Grabovski who puts it in low on Brodeur's left flank. SC.||No||Link|
|11/2||7||Low, past stick||Stop on a Komisarek shot goes to slot, Lupul slams it back low past a screened Brodeur.||No||Link||Larsson|
|11/2||8||Under the glove arm||Lupul takes it into the zone, beats Larsson, gets ahead of Sykora, and fires one through Brodeur.||Yes||Link|
|11/2||9||Past the glove||Kessel stopped on a rush, rebound thwarted, Lupul found alone at crease, Brodeur slides to stop first shot, but can't stop the rebound. SC.||No||Link||Tallinder|
|11/5||10||Low, through the legs||Flood takes a shot, it appears to go off Fraser and changes direction to fool Brodeur.||No||Link|
|11/5||11||Under the glove arm||Flood shot rebounds high into the air, Volchenkov is hooked down by Wheeler, Slater collects, dodges Fraser's pokecheck, and wires one under Brodeur's arm.||No||Link|
|11/8||12||Under the blocker arm||Elias falls down after a faceoff, Sutter picks up loose puck, races down on 2-on-1 and fires one in. SHGA.||Yes||Link||Elias|
|11/8||13||Behind him, left flank||Pitkanen attempts a pass to Ponikarovsky at the top of the crease, puck goes off Henrique's stick and behind Brodeur.||No||Link||Henrique|
|11/11||14||Low, right flank||Wideman's shot hits Volchenkov and then Ovechkin and drops to his stick. Ovechkin taps it in. SC||No||Link|
|11/11||15||Over the right pad||Chimera takes it away from Elias, torches Larsson, and delays until Brodeur is stretched to put it over his pad. SHGA. SC.||No||Link||Elias
|11/11||16||Past the glove||Alznar's shot hits off Henrique's stick and goes to Johansson on the right side. Backhand beats a sliding Brodeur. SC.||No||Link||Palmieri|
|11/16||17||Past the glove||Brodeur stops Roy, chaos in front for rebound, Pominville slides it across slot for Myers to bang in. PPGA. SC.||No||Link|
|11/16||18||Over the glove||3-on-2 rush has Myers take puck to right dot, beats Brodeur with a killer shot to the top corner.||Yes||Link|
|11/16||19||Off the pad to the left||Leopold fires a slapshot through traffic, Brodeur gets some of it, but it trickles off the right post and in.||No||Link|
|11/19||20||Over the glove||Skating away, Shannon hit an open St. Louis by the side of the net. St. Louis roofs it.||No||Link||Salvador|
|11/19||21||Over the glove||Breakdown in coverage in the neutral zone had Shannon spring Downie into space. Downie wires the puck to the top left corner. SC.||No||Link||Greene|
|11/21||22||Over the blocker, inside the left post||Fleischmann to Kulikov to off Carter's skate to Carter's stick to an open Versteeg at the side to pop it inside the post.||No||Link||Clarkson|
|11/21||23||Low, left flank||Garrison slapshot is stopped, puck bounces to Versteeg who puts in the rebound on Brodeur's left flank and maybe off Fayne. SC.||No||Link||Fayne|
|11/21||24||Over the left shoulder||Elias shot is blocked, Weiss gets free, beats Elias on a give-and-go with Garrison and Weiss puts it over a crouching Brodeur. SHGA. SC.||Yes||Link||Elias|
|11/21||25||Under a sliding Brodeur, to his right||Greene's stick breaks, Weiss collects it and passes it to Fleischmann. He skates hard diagonally, delays until Brodeur's dive is up, and puts it in.||No||Link||Parise|
|11/23||26||Low, behind on, on his right||Methot shot hits Volchenkov, goes off Boll's skate, and trickles into the net. Fluke||No||Link|
|11/26||27||Over the left shoulder||Moulson got space in a 2-on-2 in the left circle, ripped a shot over Brodeur's left shoulder. SC.||No||Link||Greene|
|11/26||28||Past the glove||Ullstrom finds Bailey open inside the right circle, Bailey's one-timer beats Brodeur and an Isle hitting the net. SC.||No||Link||Greene
|11/26||29||Over the blocker||Kovalchuk skates into a forechecking Grabner, gets it taken away, Grabner puts it over the blocker SHGA. SC.||No||Link||Kovalchuk|
|11/30||30||Past his right||O'Reilly springs into space to get a loose puck, feeds Hejduk in right circle, who puts in a one-timer through traffic. SC.||No||Link||Kovalchuk|
|11/30||31||Low, past right pad||Galiardi takes it away from Tallinder behind the net, wheels around, and puts in backhand past Brodeur's right pad. SC.||No||Link||Tallinder|
|11/30||32||Past his glove||Hejda takes a shot from the center point through traffic, gets by Brodeur's glove.||No||Link|
|11/30||33||Off his glove||O'Reilly wins the puck behind the net, curls around into slot, and gets a shot off the glove and in. SC.||Yes||Link|
|11/30||34||Over the left shoulder||Zubrus pass is intercepted and leads to a rush by Quincey and McClement. Quincey draws Larsson, so he passes to McClement for a one-timer. SHGA. SC.||No||Link||Zubrus
|11/30||35||Past the glove||Elliott gets puck off faceoff, drives to high slot, and rifles one past Brodeur's glove||Yes||Link|
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.
Out of the 31 goals allowed, I counted six soft goals - which makes up about 19% of all of the goals allowed. For reference's sake, that's a bit above what he had month-by-month last season. I'm sure I'll get arguments for tagging two shorthanded goals allowed as soft when they were breakaways. Brodeur was certainly in a bad situation on GAs #12 and #24, but I thought he made the wrong move on both. The puck on GA#12 went under his arm which suggests to me he could've closed that hole. As for GA#24, Brodeur appeared to be in some kind of crouch instead of utilizing his size on the angle. If you feel neither wasn't really soft just on the fact they were shorthanded breakaways, then I understand.
You may also argue that there may have been more soft goals? Maybe? I did count 16 of the goals allowed to come in the scoring chance area, which means 15 of them weren't. That may be more an indictment on how I count chances; I don't believe I counted anything from the side of the crease where a bunch of these goals came from. Perhaps I should? In any case, most of the soft goals I found in this month weren't off shots in that scoring chance area: GAs #8, 12, 18, and 35. While the shots on those GAs were very good, Brodeur saw them and really did have a chance at making a stop - he just didn't.
I did find quite a few skater errors, though. In fact, 18 of the 31 goals had at least one. That doesn't surprise me much because the team's performance was all over the place in November. They ranged from the epically bad in the infamous GA #30 to just some bad luck such as what happened on GAs #12 and 13. As much as we see a sub-90% save percentage and think the goaltender has to do better, it's hard to really expect it when said goaltender gets flanked (GAs #5, 6, 13, 14, 23); can't see it through traffic (GAs #19, 30, 32); or gets beat amid chaos (e.g. GA #17). It seemed like missed coverages were just common, but I fear that's my own confirmation bias from watching nothing but GAs from November.
I'd like to point out that there were handful of really unlucky GAs in November. Brodeur got beat on his flank by an accidental re-direction by his own teammate GA #13. I don't know if Ovechkin ever had an easier goal in 2011-12 than what he got on GA #14. GA #26 was a fluke live and in retrospect, and, unfortunately, equalized that game. (And it was Brodeur's best statistical performance in November, 35 saves on 36 shots, too.) It's not much but it is a part of what happened to Brodeur in this month.
What also happened was that Brodeur's glove side got picked on. For low and medium height shots, both sides were about even, but anything to the top of the net and it beat him on his left eight times. Overall, that skewed the goals allowed towards that arm. Given that this was the first full month that Brodeur played, it'll be interesting to see whether GAs will keep beating him high on his glove side in the future.
Since Brodeur didn't even play two full games in October, he's had to play his way into form in this month. Going back to last season, Brodeur gave up a lot of goals but not a lot of soft ones in his first month too. Perhaps this is further evidence that he's a slow starter? On the other hand, that first game against Toronto certainly wasn't a solid effort by the team and the month was littered of games where the team performances were up and down, culminating in a collective stinker in Denver. And if the offense isn't able to provide goal support or if the defense isn't able. Yes, Brodeur gave up a lot of goals in this month. However, I didn't think most of them were his fault or that they could have reasonably stopped. I'm not saying that this means Brodeur was great, good, or even average. I'm just saying that he wasn't the sieve that the numbers suggest. Just as I discovered with last season's worst month in terms of save percentage.
Hopefully after taking all this in, watching the video, and considering the goals allowed, I now want to know what you think. Do you agree with the six soft goals I identified? Do you think I missed any? Do you think other skaters should have been called out for making errors on some of these other goals allowed? Am I off in what I called a scoring chance, and if so, how would you like me to adjust for next week? What GA made you facepalm the most: GA #8, 12, 25, 30, or something else? What did you learn from the 31 goals Brodeur allowed in November? Please leave your answers and other thoughts in the comments. Thank you for reading.