There were almost a full five minutes left in the game Tuesday night when Devils coach Peter DeBoer made the decision.
You dont see it often, but DeBoer decided to pull goalie Martin Brodeur. It was probably not a bad idea because, to that point, the Devils had only 16 shots and needed two goals to tie the game.
We had nothing going and we were down by two, DeBoer said. There was an opportunity to create a power play and I like our chances scoring five on four better than I do with six on five with two minutes left to go. It is not a unique decision.
The thing was, the Flyers were stunned to see the net empty and the crowd let them know with gasps that something was going on.
That was something; you take a gamble any time you take a goalie out, Scott Hartnell said.
Danny Brieres line was on the ice. How fortunate for the lithe centerman, who had been goal-less in 23 straight games.
Except Briere didnt realize the net was empty. His winger, Jake Voracek, did.
To be honest, I had no clue until Jake got the puck and he rushed it out of the zone, Briere said.
Just by the reaction of the crowd, I knew there was something going on and I looked up and there was no goalie. Thats when I realized. All I was thinking was: try to get open for him. I has the feeling, knowing Jake, hes gonna try to get me out of the slump, so I owe him a dinner at least.
Voracek, who already had a goal, passed one up to allow a teammate to break a slump with his pass across the ice. A fine gesture.
You could tell he was pretty happy, Voracek said. With this guy, it's only about time and if he gets on a hot streak he can score three in a row.
It's good to see him score and I think it's the right time too right before the playoffs. It's just going to get better and better.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com