RALEIGH — The New Jersey Devils wouldn't have had a chance to climb back into Tuesday night's game in the third period if it hadn't been for revered goalie Martin Brodeur.
The Carolina Hurricanes had 46 shots in the game, 37 of which came in the first two periods.
"They had over a dozen [scoring chances]," Devils coach Brent Sutter said, shifting the blame to the rest of the team. "That's not good enough."
The Hurricanes frustrated Brodeur once again in the playoffs, 4-3 on a goal with two-tenths of a second to play.
Brodeur thought he was bumped by Jussi Jokinen on the winning goal, and Sutter agreed. He also said the same happened on Chad LaRose's second-period goal.
"These guys, that's what they do," Brodeur said. "They go to the net. I'm not complaining on how Carolina is playing. They don't take liberties. They're pretty fair on it. ... It's the referees that have to do their job, and today it was pretty awful, both of them."
Brodeur showed his frustration as he left the RBC Center ice, after Jokinen's goal had been reviewed and awarded to the Hurricanes. Fans threw their towels at him as he made for the tunnel. He slammed his stick against the ice a few times in response. He said the combination of the call and the loss contributed to his outburst.
"It's an emotion that builds up when you play," Brodeur said. "I felt I kept us in the game at 3-0. They came storming. It was an unbelievable comeback. To let it go on a goal like that, it's not fun."
Earlier in the postgame interview, he played it cool.
Asked if it was one of the toughest losses of his career, he laughed.
"I don't think so," Brodeur said. "It was definitely a disappointing loss, but we didn't lose anything today. We still have home ice advantage. We lost that game. That's it. I'm just disappointed we played 20 minutes, 22 minutes in a game. We pushed it to the limit."
Brodeur, who has more wins than any other goalie in the NHL's history, has been flustered before by the Hurricanes in the playoffs.
Never mind that he's arguably the finest goalie ever.
Back in the 2006 Eastern Conference semifinals, he was pulled in Game 1 after taking a swipe at Justin Williams' head in a game the Hurricanes won 6-0.
The Hurricanes also have chased him from the net in the regular season as well. Including the playoffs, he was yanked in three games from 2005 to 2007.
Still, his career numbers against Carolina have been stellar.
And he showed no signs of frustration early, when the Hurricanes scored twice in the first period. He came up with several smart saves to keep the Devils in it.
"Especially for as many shots as they got off," New Jersey defenseman Paul Martin said. "That's his job. That's what he does. That's why he's back there."
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