There were no last-second miracles for the Carolina Hurricanes this time. The only heroics came from New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur, as the Devils beat the Hurricanes 1-0 in Game 5 Thursday night in Newark, N.J.
Brodeur put on a goaltending clinic, turning aside all 44 shots he faced, earning his 23rd career playoff shutout to tie Patrick Roy's NHL record.
"I felt really good," Brodeur said. "I was on top of it. Again, I'll have to erase everything tomorrow, but I am happy about it."
David Clarkson tipped in Andy Greene's point shot on a power play midway through the second period, and that was all New Jersey needed for the win, taking a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference quarter-final.
A healthy scratch for the first four games of the best-of-seven series, Greene had an impact Thursday night. He was inserted into the lineup in place of the injured Bryce Salvador.
Game 6 is Sunday in Raleigh, N.C.
Ward spectacular in loss
Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward couldn't be faulted for the Devils' goal. He made 41 saves in the losing effort, and like Brodeur, he made several spectacular stops throughout the hockey game.
"We've just got to find a way," Ward said. "Our backs are against the wall, and there is a must-win on Sunday. We've got to be excited to come to the rink to play on Sunday. We can't be scared."
Ward gave the Hurricanes a chance with a few highlight-reel saves in the third period, flashing his glove to turn away Zach Parise, stopping Jay Pandolfo with his left pad on a clear-cut breakaway, and another glove save off Patrick Elias in the final two minutes.
There was plenty of offence, with both teams peppering the goalies with an abundance of shots. The collective play of Brodeur and Ward is the only reason the over-under wasn't much higher.
"There was a lot of opportunities both ways — shot for shot," Ward said.
"I think if you took all the video of all the chances from both times, you would have thought this game would have been 7-6," Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice said. "But there were some great saves on both sides."
Brodeur over previous loss
Brodeur showed no ill effects from the Devils' heartbreaking last-second loss in Game 4. The Hurricanes won that game on a controversial goal by Jussi Jokinen with less than a second to play. Jokinen and Brodeur bumped in front of the crease just before the goal was scored, and Brodeur felt the officials should have blown the play dead.
After the goal was allowed, he argued with referee Eric Furlatt and then slammed his stick against the boards as he left the ice.
Devils head coach Brent Sutter wasn't sure whether Brodeur used the sour loss as motivation for Game 5, but he liked what he saw.
"If he did, he certainly used it in the right way," Sutter said.
"He was awesome tonight," Greene added. "He was everywhere, making big saves."
By all accounts, Brodeur played his best game of the series, single-handedly stymieing Carolina's shooters all game long, especially when they were on the power play. Carolina was 0-for-5 with the man-advantage.
Cut by skate
The Devils netminder survived a scare late in the first period when he skated out of his crease to clear the puck and was clipped by Hurricanes left-winger Chad LaRose. Brodeur dove wildly back toward the net after the Hurricanes gained control of the puck and fired it at the goal.
LaRose's skate had pierced through Brodeur's padding, cutting him in the calf.
"It cut right through my sock," Brodeur said. "It was more of a bruise. It's not like it sliced. It just hit me. At first I wasn't sure because I could see the blood. When you get cut by a skate, you don't know what's going on. I'm not that tough. I probably wouldn't have continued if I had to take stitches."
But after getting cleaned up, nothing seemed to affect his play.
As the game wore on, Brodeur got better, turning aside a flurry of Carolina opportunities in the second and third periods. LaRose had two outstanding chances to tie the game in the dying minutes, but couldn't beat the Devils goalie.
While both teams repeatedly rushed the front of the net, neither goalie was thrown off his game.