In 1994, the New York Rangers edged a young Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils in a memorable Eastern Conference finals series that Brodeur called “one of the toughest losses I ever had.” Perhaps it was a learning experience too, though, because the Devils went on to shock the NHL and win the first of their three Cups in ’95. Brodeur doesn’t see a ton of symmetry between that series and the one about to kick off 18 years later, but perhaps he’s now playing the role for Henrik Lundqvist that Mike Richter once did against him.
Lundqvist is far more proven and Brodeur is further down the road than Richter was,* yet from a playoff perspective, a similar passing of the torch might take place. If nothing else, Brodeur is well aware of the great goalie on the other side of the rink.
“He’s unbelievable,” Brodeur said. “He’s kind of the top goalie in the NHL right now and I think I was in that position once. I played against Patrick [Roy], played against Dominik Hasek. I played against all the guys that maybe, you know, [were in] the top years in their career. For me it’s nice to compete against them, regardless of what’s going to happen. I’ll do my best to try to match up, but it’s going to be pretty hard.”
The future Hall of Famer echoes his teammates thoughts that there isn’t really a “book” on Lundqvist.
“Even [if] I found the secret, I doubt I would tell you guys … but I didn’t,” Brodeur said. “He’s a good goalie. All the adjustments, I’m sure he does the same thing. You don’t become a top goalie in the league and just put your pads on and go out and play.”
Both teams should have plenty of tape on each other going into Monday’s game, and for some, it might come down to Brodeur vs. Lundqvist.
* – Richter kept kicking around until 2003.