Martin Brodeur still getting it done

The Globe and Mail

(Matt Slocum)

With Jaromir Jagr leaving these playoffs, we are now down to two 40-year-olds left playing for the Stanley Cup.

One is Phoenix Coyotes greybeard Ray Whitney, who celebrated his birthday on Tuesday with his team waiting for Round 3 to start.

The other is New Jersey Devils netminder Martin Brodeur, who picked up a win in Game 4 of their series with the Philadelphia Flyers on the weekend on his 40th birthday.

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Playing deep into the playoffs at 40 and beyond has been relatively common for skaters since the lockout. Heck, Mark Recchi did it three years in a row with the Boston Bruins.

Doing what Brodeur has done, however, is a bit more rare.

When the future Hall of Famer picked up his eighth win on Tuesday to eliminate the Flyers, he became only the fourth goalie aged 40 or older to win that many games in a single playoffs.

The others: Jacques Plante (1969), Dominik Hasek (2007) and Dwayne Roloson (2011).

That's it, from 1918 until now.

The most surprising thing about all this isn't that Brodeur is old, however. It's that his performance in the playoffs had been slipping ever since the lockout, to the point that many didn't think he had another run in him.

The past six years, he was just 15-22 with a .913 save percentage in the postseason, a stark contrast to his prelockout career when he was 84-60 with a .921 save percentage and won three Stanley Cups.

And the Devils haven't been to the third round since the last one in 2003.



<h5 style='border-top: #000 1px solid; border-bottom: #000 1px dotted; font:14px Georgia,serif; font-weight: normal; width: 460px; padding: 5px 0; margin: 20px 0 0'>Brodeur's playoff save percentage </h5><p style='font:12px Verdana,sans-serif; width: 460px; margin: 5px 0 0 0; line-height: 1.4em;'>This three-year moving average shows peaks around two of his Stanley Cup wins in 1995 and 2003 and an overall decline since 2006</p><iframe src='http://www.theglobeandmail.com/static/test/charts/google/google_iframe_04.html?id=000&type=line&ssid=0Ar3M_smeSBJsdHhFa1RHMkMwbHpkY2ZfMGdOdHFwV3c&bm=40&lm=70&w=460&h=300' scrolling='no' frameborder='no' width='460' height='300' style='border-bottom: 1px dotted #000; margin: 20px 0 0' ></iframe>


Even with that recent fall off, Brodeur's longevity has been pretty incredible.

With 193 games played, 107 wins and 4,542 saves in the playoffs, he is behind only Patrick Roy in all three categories all time and sits fourth in career postseason save percentage among goalies with 30+ wins.

This is the final season of a six-year deal he signed in 2006, and Brodeur has hinted throughout the year it may be his last season.

Perhaps all this unexpected success in the playoffs, something he really hasn't had throughout the length of this deal, could change his mind?

“I don’t think he was ever a guy that was going to retire,” teammate David Clarkson said after the Game 5 win. “He’s won us some games in the playoffs. He’s held us in. He’s exciting to watch.”

"You don't want to know," Brodeur joked when asked about the secret to his longevity on Monday. "I'm just having fun. I think that's the main thing, to enjoy what you do. Every day I come in and especially this year has been a great season. Not just hockey, but chemistry with the guys."