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Devils' Martin Brodeur remains the goal standard

HOCKEY

Kings' Jonathan Quick is coming on fast, but New Jersey's Brodeur is one of the all-time greats.

May 31, 2012|By Chris Foster
  • New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur makes a glove save during the Kings' victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday. Brodeur is one of the most successful goalies in NHL history.
New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur makes a glove save during the Kings'… (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images )

NEWARK, N.J. — Someday Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick might have a resume as impressive as Martin Brodeur's … and Quick is working on it.

But, for now, the New Jersey Devils' Brodeur still reigns as the measuring stick for NHL goalies.

Even after a couple less-than-Marty seasons, even after the Kings' Anze Kopitar deked him in overtime for a game-winning goal Wednesday, even after 18 seasons, Brodeur stands alone … except when he's sprawling on the ice making a what-just-happened save.

New Jersey forward Patrik Elias, who sits next to Brodeur in the Devils' locker room, said, "You get the same guy every day. It doesn't matter what's going on — lose, win, good game, bad game. It's why he is successful."

Quick is the new kid on the block, and has been in sync during a playoff run that might land him the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff most valuable player. Brodeur has never won that award, but if he can will the Devils to rally against the bigger, younger Kings, he will have won four Stanley Cup titles.

Only three other goalies have won more, Ken Dryden (six), Jacques Plante (six) and Grant Fuhr (five), although Fuhr won one of his titles as a benchwarmer.

Quick has a way to go to reach the Brodeur level both in play and persona. Although all but unbeatable on the ice in the postseason, Quick has been darn-near unapproachable off it. He spent Tuesday's media briefing wearing a hoodie and giving limited answers. Brodeur treated media day like a class reunion, even apologizing to reporters that he wouldn't be allowed to do interviews before Game 1 on Wednesday.

Brodeur — who made 23 saves, several of them spectacular and in flurries — is equally solid in the locker room.

"He thinks like a coach," New Jersey Coach Peter DeBoer said. "He has a great read on our team and great analysis on how we play. I was listening to his comments last night and they were dead on."

Comfort zone

The Devils have the Kings right were they want them … ahead.

While the Kings won the first two games on the road in their first three playoff series, this is the third consecutive series that New Jersey has lost Game 1.

The Devils dropped the opener to Philadelphia, then won four consecutive games. They lost the opener to the New York Rangers and then trailed, 2-1, before winning the last three to close out the series.

Even in the first round against Florida, the Devils trailed, 3-2, in the series, then won the last two games in overtime.

"I think when I look back at our playoff trail, you know, one of the areas that's cropped up in every round is we've been a little tentative in the first game," DeBoer said. "We jumped in with both feet in Game 2. I think that's hopefully what we'll do here again."

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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