By looking at the score after Game 5 ended, you would think this was a tough, close, defensive style game. You would have two out of three correct. The proof: Martin Brodeur had a playoff career high of 44 saves tonight, with a total of 44 shots on net. Brodeur tied Patrick Roy for the NHL record of career shutouts in the playoffs.
The offense wasn’t one sided either, with the Devils making 42 shots, and one of those going in behind Carolina’s Cam Ward.
The game started out with a crash – David Clarkson literally bowling over Cam Ward. It was an obvious Goalie Interference penalty that Clarkson took without too much objection. But that play set the tone, even though both coaches denied it in their post-game press conferences. Essentially, it was the Devils telling Carolina, "Don’t even think of trying anything near Brodeur tonight."
There was also a moment in the first in which Devils fans collectively held their breath as Chad LaRose went crashing in to Brodeur and tumbled over. Brodeur staying on the ice bent over, didn’t realize play was continuing and after a few moments was severely out of position. He made one of his most interesting plays ever seen, literally jumping across the goal mouth to prevent a shot from going in – but thankfully the shot was wide anyway.
Brodeur spent the next fe moments flexing his leg – he had been cut on the back of the leg but was determined not to let it get the best of him – and he didn’t making a total of 16 saves in the period.
The fight to win was evident in both teams, especially sine after a series is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has won 25 of the last 27 series. But the Devils were trying to do it without Captain Jamie Langenbrunner and Defenseman Bryce Salvador. Langenbrunner has been out with a "lower body" injury that many suspect was a pulled groin muscle, and Salvador had his knee hurt when a Carolina player came crashing down on his leg. Langenbrunner was thought to be returning for Game 5 but has yet to skate in practice, and Salvador is day-to-day.
The missing personnel let Brian Rolston come up to the top line to work with Parise and Zajac, which appeared to work well, although they were unable to convert offensively. Andrew Greene came back from being a healthy scratch to fill in for Salvador, and was able to get the primary assist in the only goal scored.
"He’s a very poised, controlled young man." Sutter said of Andrew Greene. "We wouldn’t miss a beat tonight back there." Sutter was dead on, as the Devils shut out the Hurricanes. On the shutout, Brodeur was happy about tying the record.
"Shutouts will happen when you play so many games in the playoffs. It’s nice to accomplish. The atmosphere was unbelievable."
Despite the obvious that both goalies played well, only Brodeur wound up being a star of the game. He received the first star, with David Clarkson taking second and new-to-the-playoffs Andrew Greene getting third.