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DEVIL REPORT

Brodeur Stating His Case

June 01, 2003|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

For all his accomplishments -- two Stanley Cup championships, Olympic gold medal, eight times his teammates' choice as the New Jersey Devils' most valuable player -- some believe Martin Brodeur has not been given his due.

Overshadowed over the last decade by Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek, he has never won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender, his detractors saying that because of the Devils' stifling defensive system he is rarely tested.

Even after the Devils opened the Stanley Cup finals with consecutive shutouts against the Mighty Ducks, some credited the system as much as Brodeur.

"If you hold a team to 16 shots [as the Devils did in the first two games], it's definitely a team effort," Devil defenseman Scott Stevens said Saturday before Game 3. "But the goalie still has to be sharp. It's sometimes harder when you don't see a lot of rubber to make spectacular saves, and he's had to do that."

And if lack of recognition is a concern, Brodeur doesn't show it.

"I don't think the overshadowing is that bad," Coach Pat Burns said. "Nobody is in it for a tug-of-war of publicity. I don't think that bothers him."

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Saturday's game was the Devils' first outside the Eastern time zone since March 5, when they played at Minnesota. The Ducks, meanwhile, have not played a team from within the Pacific time zone since the regular season ended.

Stevens, who has played all but one of his 21 NHL seasons in the Eastern Conference, appreciates the convenience of playing in the East.

After moving from the St. Louis Blues to the Devils before the 1991-92 season, Stevens said, "I think we figured out that being in New Jersey, I was home 40 more nights a season, and the travel from St. Louis isn't all that bad."

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The Devils, who are 10-1 at home in the playoffs and have outscored their opponents, 30-10, at Continental Airlines Arena, are 4-5 on the road and have given up 22 goals, the same number they've scored. They are 2-3 in overtime.

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With his assist on Patrik Elias' second-period goal, Jamie Langenbrunner moved into a tie for second place on the playoff scoring list with 16 points in 19 games. Marian Gaborik of Minnesota accumulated 17 points in 18 games and Marian Hossa of Ottawa had 16 in 18.

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