Apparently, 40 really is the new 30. Just ask Martin Brodeur.
Brodeur, who turned 40 this past Sunday, has silenced his critics with his recent rock-solid play in this year’s playoffs, helping lead New Jersey into the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2003, the last time the Devils won the Stanley Cup.
Any talk of retirement surrounding the legendary No. 30 now seems a tad premature.
Brodeur, who struggled to find consistency through much of the regular season, has found his game at just the right time for the Devils. In retrospect, was the 18-year NHL veteran just saving himself for when it counted most? Judging by his latest body of work, it certainly appears that way.
The sure-fire first ballot hall-of-famer found another gear in the final stretch of the regular season, reeling off five straight wins to finish the year with a 31-21-4 record, giving Brodeur 30-plus victories in a season for the 15th time in his storied NHL career.
He’s carried that momentum right into the playoffs. In winning his first two playoff series, Brodeur’s posted an 8-3 record, complete with a solid 2.05 GAA and .920 SV%. And the records keep coming; his shutout in Game 4 vs. Florida in the first round, the 24th of his playoff career, vaulted Brodeur into first place on the career postseason shutout list, passing Patrick Roy.
Brodeur's unlikely resurgence between the pipes this postseason has been a full 180-degree swing from season’s past. Prior to this year, Brodeur had lost his last four postseason series, posting a woeful 6-16 playoff record, with his last series win coming five years ago in the 2007 playoffs vs. Tampa Bay in the opening round. With the sun clearly setting on his legendary career, one more playoff bust this year might have spelled the end of the line in New Jersey for the impending free agent, with the distinct possibility that he’d even hang up his glove and blocker for good.
Well, not so fast.
In light of his recent play, it’s clear that No. 30 wants to be thought of and remembered -- even at age 40 -- as one of the greatest to ever strap on the pads. And it’s working.
It’s clear that Brodeur still has quite a bit left in the tank, both for this postseason run and beyond, should he ultimately choose to return to the NHL next season. But should the Devils go on to win the Cup, there may be no more fitting way for Brodeur to end his career, then by hoisting Lord Stanley’s Mug for an incredible fourth time this June.
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