Yanked Marty's still got Games

DON BRENNAN , QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Martin Brodeur has had his way with the Senators for most of his career.

Such was certainly not the case Tuesday night.

Brodeur, who entered the game with a 34-18-4 lifetime record vs. Ottawa, was pulled after giving up three goals on 12 shots over just two periods. It’s believed that was just the second time Brodeur had not finished a game he started against the Senators. The other was back on Oct. 21, 2006, when Brodeur was yanked after his team fell behind 6-0.

It’s unlikely the latest hiccup will hurt Brodeur’s chances of being Canada’s No. 1 goalie at the Olympics. Coach Mike Babcock and the other decision-makers aren’t likely to put much stock in Brodeur’s 30th consecutive start — against a red-hot Senators team and with his own side missing such key personnel as Patrik Elias, David Clarkson and Paul Martin.

“It’s important that you play well,” Brodeur said Tuesday morning when asked if he thought the next few weeks would serve as a tryout for the coveted Canadian post.

“Tryout is a big word. We’ve all done stuff in the past to prove that we could be

No. 1, but it’s the feeling of the coaches when it starts, and when we show up, all the attitude about everything.

“We’re going to play a system, and you have to feel comfortable having the goalie to play with the system, also.

“It is (a tryout) to a certain extent, because you’ve got to play well, but I don’t think it’s the end of the world if you lose a game here and there, in the stretch run here.”

Two less serious notes on this country’s best goalie:

At long last was the chance to ask Martin Brodeur, Devils goalie, if he’s related to Mike Brodeur, Senators goalie. Mike was told by an uncle that there is a “distant” connection.

“At first, I didn’t think so,” deadpanned Marty, “but now that he’s won three in a row, I think we’re cousins.”

And this just in: The New Jersey Brodeur wears braces on his teeth. Started to a “couple of weeks ago”, he says.

Do they bother you when you’re playing, Marty?

“Only when I get hit in the face. It hurts a lot more.”

Brodeur had to be grimacing when Alex Kovalev snuck one through his legs — and again when Jacques Lemaire gave him the hook.

Starts and stops

During his first-period interview with Sportsnet’s Ian “Lenny” Mendes, Jason Spezza forgot to mention he didn’t deflect the Chris Campoli shot for the goal Spezza was credited with. Ownership was officially changed to Milan Michalek. Spezza did extend his goal streak to four games during in the second, but it was that kind of up-and-down night for the centre. It started with his first shift, when he was guilty of icing, then falling down without being touched while carrying the puck, then committing a turnover in the offensive zone — while putting the puck between his own feet — that turned into an odd-man rush for the Devils ... Two quiet stars: Nick Foligno and Ryan Shannon. The former was a hound down low in the offensive zone, particularly in setting up the Senators’ first goal. The latter had some tenacity to his skating, on the back check and going forward.

Big Country, big plus

Many wondered if Matt Carkner would be able to play at this level when he cracked the Senators lineup in October. One of only two Ottawa defenceman (the other being Chris Phillips) to play in all the team’s 54, Carkner continues to prove he belongs. Heading into Tuesday, he was averaging 17:22 of ice time, and with a plus-1 ranking he drew to even. At his high point of the season, Carkner was a plus-6. ”It’s a stat as a defenceman you want to take pride in, for sure,” he said of the plus-minus. Big Country’s goal for the season is to finish as a plus player. “I want to be plus 100, but I’m a ways away right now,” cracked Carkner. “I’ve got 100 goals to go.”

Things I think I think

Even the Senators’ 11th too-many-men penalty this season couldn’t discourage “The Killers” from extending their streak of perfection to seven games ... Former Pembroke Lumber King Dainius Zubrus returned to the Devils lineup after missing 30 games with a broken kneecap. Is there an injury that screams New Jersey louder, Tony Soprano? ... What would a game between the two be if Andrew Peters didn’t get his hand in Jarkko Ruutu’s face at least once, right? ... Late-game chants of “Alfie” led the captain to ring a shot off the post. Phillips hit one earlier that led to the disallowed goal that went in off the foot of Jonathan Cheechoo.


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