Martin Brodeur was waiting for shots that never came. Now he’s waiting for New Jersey’s next playoff opponent.
The Devils held Toronto to an NHL modern record-low six shots Monday night and eliminated the Maple Leafs from the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 3-0 victory.
New Jersey, which won the best-of-seven second-round series, 4-2, advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since winning the Cup in 1995.
“It’s a great feeling to get past the second round,” said Petr Sykora, who scored 18 seconds after the opening faceoff. “We just have to make sure we remain calm, we’re just halfway there.”
Jason Arnott gave the Devils a 2-0 lead 25 seconds into the second period and the Devil defense made sure there would not be a Game 7.
“We never let those guys get back in the hockey game,” said Brodeur, who earned his second shutout of the series and the eighth of his playoff career. “It’s tough when you only get six shots--it was hard to focus. That had to be one of my hardest games to play.”
John Madden added an empty-net goal with six seconds remaining to secure the victory for the Devils, who held the Leafs to the fewest shots in an NHL game since the start of the expansion era in 1967, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
New Jersey will play the winner of the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh series. Philadelphia leads, 3-2, with Game 6 tonight at Pittsburgh.
The Maple Leafs did not win the NHL championship for the 33rd consecutive year. Toronto has only reached the conference finals four times since its 1967 title--including last year’s loss to Buffalo.
Toronto’s elimination assures that the Stanley Cup will be won by a franchise from the United States for a record seventh consecutive season, dating to Montreal’s victory in 1993. The only time U.S. teams won the Cup six years in a row was from 1936-41.
“We didn’t shoot the puck,” Toronto Coach Pat Quinn said. “It is an ongoing problem for our hockey club.”
Toronto’s previous playoff low for shots was 13 in a 3-0 loss to Philadelphia on April 15, 1975. The Leafs had three shots in the first period Monday, two in the second and only one in the third.
“I think we probably ended up with 13 or 14,” forward Garry Valk said. “They always do that in this rink. They don’t count as many as they have so it looks like you’re not in the game.”
Toronto goalie Curtis Joseph was credited with 24 saves.