In their best game of the postseason this year, the Devils won Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals match up with a shutout, 3-0.
Devils net minder Martin Brodeur made 31 saves to shut out the Lightning in his 22nd career playoff shutout, one behind Patrick Roy’s record.
Essentially what made the team play so well was their consistency for all 60 minutes of play and their ability to make uninterrupted passes, strong defense, and enough offense to win in the new era of the NHL.
Goals scored by Andy Greene – his first postseason goal, Brian Gionta – his third goal in the series, and Scott Gomez – who got two assists in the previous goals, gave the Devils the 3-0 victory.
Not everything was perfect during the match up. Lightning did get a few shorthanded attempts but every goaltender’s best friend – the goal post – came up big with the save.
At the beginning of the second, Richard Matvichuk came up big with a blocked shot from Andreas Karlsson. In an exchange where the Lightning were surrounding the net, Brodeur dove to his right to stop one shot, and the rebound came out to the left where the net was wide open. Karlsson got to the puck first and a diving play by Matvichuk prevented Karlsson from getting the shot to the net.
Plays like that kept both the crowd and the Devils believing in the game, and continued to discourage the Lightning.
At the end of the third, Tampa Bay obviously frustrated, began to start picking fights. Andre Roy searched three Devils before finding Mike Rupp who was happy to drop the gloves and Roy. Roy received an additional Misconduct.
Not more than 30 seconds later, Andreas Karlsson, Ryan Craig, and Nolan Pratt got in to a disagreement with Jamie Langenbrunner and a few other Devils. Langenbrunner and Pratt wound up dropping the gloves for a fight that could barely be called one.
While the pushing and shoving continued on the ice, Devils assistant coach John MacLean and Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella began yelling at each other across the walkway.
The Devils had a record low for shots made in a postseason game with 14. The third period the Devils only got 2 shots that reached Lightning net minder Johan Holmqvist. Obviously it didn’t affect the outcome of the game, but the Devils need to continue to put shots on net.