The New York Rangers officially booted the New Jersey Devils from the playoff conversation by beating them 4-1 on Sunday, but Martin Brodeur told the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti that it was just a matter of time.
If that’s true, then the natural question is: why did the defending Eastern Conference champions fail to even make the playoffs? The future Hall of Famer chalks it up to lost star power.
“There’s Zach [Parise]. That’s a top-three forward we never got back,” Brodeur said. “When Kovy went down, it made a big difference in not having another top guy. That was probably the big difference that you see.”
Both scorers were surely missed, but more than a few people wonder how much more competitive the Devils might have been if their goaltending was better.
That weakness seemed clearest when the 40-year-old netminder was injured and forced to watch Johan Hedberg struggle, yet the team suffered from weak netminding for most of 2013. Only seven teams sported a poorer collective save percentage than Brodeur-Hedberg did this season.
One can debate the Devils’ fatal flaw, but Brodeur seems pretty convinced that their most glaring weakness came on offense.
“At the end of the day, when you don’t score goals or you don’t score them timely anyway and when you do you don’t score many, it’s going to hurt you,” Brodeur said. “You can get all the excuses, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to feel good about the way you played and for us we worked really hard and we feel real good, it was just not enough this year.”