Sens should stick with Brodeur vs. Bruins

DON BRENNAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

MONTREAL — Exactly 22 minutes and five seconds into Saturday night’s game at Bell Centre, you would have sworn you had just heard the sound of a bubble bursting.

But Mike Brodeur bounced back from the first “bad goal” he has allowed in the NHL by shutting the door on the Habs the rest of the way. Now, after his 30 save performance in a 4-2 victory, Senators coach Cory Clouston really has no choice but to see if Brodeur can be the guy to end Tim Thomas’ mastery of the Senators when they take on the Beantowners Monday afternoon.

“He played outstanding,” Clouston said of Brodeur, who stood strong while the Habs pressed for an equalizer in the final minutes. “To me, that’s the difference now. The guys are playing with confidence in front of him. He’s giving us confidence.”

Indeed. Not only did Brodeur smarten up after letting Tomas Plekanec bank one between his legs fro the side boards, but the Senators also responded positively. Within the next three minutes and two seconds, veterans Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Phillips put Ottawa ahead to stay.

What’s interesting is that Habs coach Jacques Martin was at least a co-author of his team’s demise Saturday night.

As GM of Florida Panthers, Martin signed Brodeur after the 2008-09 season, when the latter’s career plunged into the East Coast Hockey League.

Brodeur was asked if Martin saved his career.

“Definitely, they did help,” he said of the Panthers. “Giving me the call, giving me that opportunity in the American Hockey League when I really didn’t get a chance in Chicago’s organization. So them giving me that chance last year was great.”

Brodeur made the Montreal media chuckle when asked about his relationship to Martin Brodeur.

“I was told by an uncle that it’s in the family tree, but he wouldn’t be at the family reunion or anything like that, so it’s real distant,” he said. “It’s a big spotlight to be chasing, having that name Brodeur. It’s a good pressure for me. Makes me perform a little bit better.”

Whatever the reason, Brodeur is getting the job done for the Senators these days.

And as coy as Clouston wants to be about the identity of his starting goalie against the Bruins, he has to keep riding Brodeur’s wave.

Starts and stops

Yes, the Molson family bought the Habs last month. But Daniel Alfredsson owns them. In 73 career games against the Canadiens, Alfredsson now has 97 points and a plus-20 rating. He had a goal, two assists and was plus-3 in his return from the injury list for last night’s match at Bell Centre. “Daniel told me the other night (that) one of the best arenas to play in is here,” Hasse Alfredsson, the captain’s father, said in the bowels of the building yesteray morning. “The audience is unbelievable. They sing ... and even if they boo at you, he loves it here. It’s the best one in the whole NHL.” ... Trying to establish for himself a role on the team, Zack Smith scored some early points last night as a penalty killer. Facing the league’s best power play for the first time, he recorded his first NHL point with a shorthanded goal. On Montreal’s second power play of the game, Smith blocked a shot and intercepted a pass in the Senators zone ... Only two other players in franchise history can say their first NHL goal was a shortie: Trent McCleary (Oct. 26. 1995) and Antoine Vermette (Dec. 4, 2003).

Things I think I think

A large billboard outside Bell Centre of Alex Kovalev (aka “The Most Interesting Man In The World”) just doesn’t look right, even if it is an ad for the former Hab’s instructional DVD ... It really is amazing Andre Markov made it beyond the game’s first minute. After appearing to take an accidental high stick in the face from Anton Volchenkov, the Habs’ defenceman held a yard sale, tossing gloves and stick aside as he writhed on the ice as if gunned down by a sniper. “He’s lucky to be alive,” decided one observer in the press box. No penalty was called, and there were no marks left on Marks ...

Between periods

With the “upper body” injury to Brendan Morrow, another spot may be opening up on the Olympic team. Mike Fisher did himself no favours with the way he started Saturday. Fisher took the game’s first penalty then coughed up the puck while blowing a tire on the fifth goal by Alfred native Benoit Pouliot in the last seven games. Fisher did, however, stop his goal-less drought at 15 games with an empty-netter to seal the victory ... Montreal scalper Kevin was standing outside the Bell Centre both Friday and Saturday, loudly declaring his fondness of a Senators rookie. “I love Matt Carkner,” he shouted. “Matt Carkner is my HERO!” Kevin was telling all who would listen how “Big Country” handled Donald Brashear in New York Thursday, which was funny because neither fight between the two was much to talk about. More understandable it would be if he was still going on about the punch out of Colton Orr Dec. 14

Just saying'

The Habs were a mere 16:57 from becoming the fourth team to play a penalty-free game against the Senators this season ... Timing is everything. Of Chris Phillips’ 56 career goals, 11 have been game winners. That’s a ratio anyone would take .


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