Brodeur Injured; Devils Grab Rare Victory in Chicago

You’d think that a game where the Devils blow a 2-0 lead and Martin Brodeur is forced to exit the game with an apparent right-arm injury would leave Devils fans with more bad taste in their mouth.

That’s what happened tonight, but the answer is surprisingly, no. That’s how desperate the Devils have become for wins. A win is a win, and the team is willing to sacrifice Brodeur along the way.

The Devils led, like I said, 2-0 early in the game thanks to notches from Travis Zajac and (a slightly frustrated) Jason Arnott, but Martin Brodeur would take a Patrick Kane shot off the right arm in the second period, and would play one more shift before leaving the game. Brodeur said he left the game because he no longer had any feeling in his right hand.

But breathe a sigh of relief. X-rays were negative, and it’s been classified as only a bad bruise. He expects to play in Friday’s game. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he was out for a length of time (what Devils’ fan wasn’t sweating when he left the game?) just based on how things have played out for the team this year. “Injuries galore” is actually putting it lightly, especially after the recent announcement that Zach Parise will miss the next 3 months.

Brodeur would not return to the game, and Johan Hedbeg came in as his replacement. He then promptly relinquished the lead to the Blackhawks, who tied it at 2-2 early in the third period on a crummy goal by Fernando Pisani at the side of the net. Don’t place all the blame on Hedberg, though. At one point, more than halfway into the third period, the Devils had only 3 shots since Brodeur had left the game. Obviously Brodeur’s injury affected the mindset of the team, and a feeling of “here we go again” may have set in.

The Devils would finally wake up from their little nap at 16:09 of the third period with Brad Mills’ first career NHL goal. Head Coach John Maclean hasn’t got a whole lot right this year, but giving that kid more ice time was definitely a savvy move from the rookie coach. He plays with a jump in his step, which is a sorely needed attribute on this Devils team.

An empty netter at 19:10 by Jamie Langenbrunner ran the lead to two goals at 4-2, putting the Devils on their way to victory. But wait, there’s more! Viktor Stalberg also scored for the Blackhawks at 19:26 to cut the lead again to one goal.

Hoo boy.

In total, three goals were scored in forty-two seconds in the final minute.

A sloppy ending to a slightly sloppy game, but it was the end result that mattered, a 5-3 victory on the road. Rejoice, Devils fans. Your team has finally scored more than three goals in a game. Sure two of them were empty netters, but it still counts!

Oh yeah, and first place in the East is only 7 points out of reach!

Greg Balloch

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