Cory Schneider (Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
On the night Martin Brodeur had his jersey retired in New Jersey, Cory Schneider made a series of stops on a 2-on-1 that were reminiscent of Brodeur’s best days. Schneider is top 10 in all four major goaltending categories.
When New Jersey brought Cory Schneider over from the Vancouver Canucks at the 2013 draft, the goal was to have him be the successor to long-time Devils netminder Martin Brodeur. And on the night the Devils paid tribute to Brodeur and retired his No. 30, Schneider showed why New Jersey was right to bet on him as their next standout goaltender.
The evening’s festivities kicked off with a ceremony dedicated to Brodeur, who is now an assistant GM with the St. Louis Blues. Brodeur was congratulated by former teammates, his accomplishments were listed and, to cap off the pre-game celebration, Brodeur’s jersey was raised to the Prudential Center rafters.
And while most paid their tribute to Brodeur with kind words and fond memories, Schneider found another way to pay homage to the surefire Hall of Fame netminder. Early in the second period, the visiting Edmonton Oilers broke up ice on a 2-on-1 with Taylor Hall carrying the puck. Mark Letestu joined Hall on the rush and as they approached the net, Hall feathered a perfect pass over to Letestu, who hammered it on goal.
Schneider, just as Brodeur had done throughout his career, turned the attempt aside with a spectacular stop. But it didn’t stop at one save, as Schneider made sure to turn away a second attempt, too:
Schneider’s series of stops would pay off for the Devils as Reid Boucher notched the game-winning goal in the third period to cap off Brodeur’s celebratory evening with a victory.
Of course, even though Schneider made the huge save on the 2-on-1, a true tribute to Brodeur would have been a blanking of the Oilers. Brodeur, the NHL’s all-time leader in shutouts, never once registered a shutout against Edmonton, making them one of two teams — the Sharks are the other — that Brodeur failed to blank in his career.
Schneider has been the perfect fit in New Jersey post-Brodeur. As of Wednesday, he sits in the top 10 of all four major goaltending categories. His 2.01 goals-against average is second in the NHL, his .930 save percentage ranks fifth, he’s sixth in wins with 24 and has the fourth-most shutouts with four.