Devils edge B’s in what may be Brodeur’s finale
Boston Bruins' Loui Eriksson, of Sweden, (21) shoots for a goal past New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur (30) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Newark, N.J., Sunday, April 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
As fellow goalie Cory Schneider, background, looks on, New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur warms up in the goal before an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins in Newark, N.J., Sunday, April 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
New Jersey Devils' Marek Zidlicky, front right, of the Czech Republic, celebrates his goal with the bench during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins in Newark, N.J., Sunday, April 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Brodeur made 16 saves in what might have been his last start in a 20-year career with the Devils and New Jersey beat Boston 3-2 on Sunday as the Bruins rested many of their stars in preparation for the playoffs later this week.
The soon-to-be 42-year-old Brodeur is in the final year of his contract and is likely to test the free-agent market now that he has become the backup to Cory Schneider.
Defenseman Marek Zidlicky scored twice and Travis Zajac once for the Devils, who have now missed the playoffs two straight seasons after making the Stanley Cup finals in 2012.
Loui Eriksson scored for Boston, which rested eight starters, including Zdeno Chara and No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask.
While Brodeur didn’t have a lot of work against the Boston lineup that included four minor league callups, this was a lovefest for the player who led the Devils to three Stanley Cup titles and five appearances in the championship round.
He was cheered from the opening introductions and every save brought chants of “Marty! Marty!” Toward the end, the crowd just chanted his name.
At the end of the game, Brodeur skated to center ice and waved to the crowd as his teammates stood in front of the bench and tapped their sticks on the ice to honor him. As he was interviewed the sellout crowd chanted: “Thank You Marty! Thank You Marty!”
Zajac broke a 1-all tie at 3:52 of the final period. He got inside position on Matt Bartkowski in front of goalie Chad Johnson and re-directed a pass from Jaromir Jagr into the net.
Zidlicky stretched the lead to two goals with a power-play goal that Jagr also helped set up.
The assists gave Jagr 1,050, moving him one past Gordie Howe for eighth on the career list.
Boston managed to take some of the enjoyment out of the closing seconds when Brad Marchand scored a power-play goal to make it a one-goal game.
The Devils outshot the undermanned Bruins 24-9 in the first two periods, but the score was tied 1-all.
Zidlicky gave New Jersey the lead 7:12 into the game. The defenseman joined a rush late and took a pass from Travis Zajac entering the Bruins’ zone.
He skated down the right side, went around the net and beat Johnson with a wraparound inside the post for his 11th goal of the season.
Boston only had five shots in the period but the last one tied it on a power play. Brad Marchand sent a pass from the right circle to Carl Soderberg in the opposite circle. He quickly found Erikkson with a pass at the right corner of the net for a slam dunk.
The Devils announced during the game that coach Pete DeBoer will return next season.
Notes: Marchand played in his 300th game with the Bruins. ... The Bruins, the Presidents’ Trophy winner for the best regular-season record, also rested Jarome Iginla, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly. They recalled forwards Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Alexander Khokhlachev, and Matt Lindblad from the Providence Bruins (American Hockey League).