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Brodeur's game-changing stop saves team's season

3/13/2011

NEWARK, N.J. -- A highlight reel of every huge save New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur has made during his 17-year, future Hall of Fame career would take hours to finish. And yet, it was his latest huge save that allowed the Devils to survive another day in their quest to pull off a miracle run to the playoffs.

With New Jersey trailing 2-1 and its season likely on the brink early in the third period, Brodeur stoned Michael Grabner shorthanded with a blocker save at 5:11, keeping his team within a goal. Thirty-two seconds later, right winger David Clarkson tied the game at 2-2 and eventually defenseman Anssi Salmela won it in overtime with his first tally of the season.

“Yeah,” interim coach Jacques Lemaire answered when asked if that save was the turning point of the game. “That was a huge. That was a huge save. Marty was good on it. He was very patient.”

Grabner had stepped in and gathered the puck just beyond the Islanders’ zone after New Jersey defenseman Mark Fayne had dubbed a pass. He moved in on Brodeur with a ton of speed, but was unable to lift the puck over the 38-year-old netminder’s blocker.

“He made the same move [he made on Long Island last Sunday],” Brodeur said. “He just got it up higher the first time and hit the post. He got it in close this time and was going in fast. He looked back at me. And he just kind of pulled it one side, forehand. He didn’t raise it. He only got it a couple inches up the ice.”

It was a relatively easy evening for Brodeur, who only had to make 13 saves to earn his sixth victory in his last seven starts. However, it seemed like all of those stops were important. Grabner ended up registering a team-high four shots, and Brodeur managed to get them all.

Of course, that one in the third period was the biggest. And it allowed the Devils to survive another day.

You can follow Mike Mazzeo on Twitter: @MazzESPN