There was plenty of blame to go around in the Devils' 4-1 loss to the last-place Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Prudential Center.
But, Devils coach Brent Sutter made it clear he was not happy with the way goaltender Martin Brodeur played tonight.
While Toronto's Martin Gerber was stopping 47 of 48 shots he faced, Brodeur gave up four goals on 18 shots, including a couple of questionable ones. Brodeur has given up at least four goals in four of his last eight starts and allowed at least three in seven times in his last nine appearances (one in relief of the injured Kevin Weekes).
When I asked Sutter after tonight's game if he was concerned about the way Brodeur has played lately, he replied, "Just to get back to the question I get asked about whether I think about rotating goalies: Now you can see why I'm not thinking about doing it.
"There's still things that Marty needs to work on to get himself ready (for the playoffs)."
In other words, Brodeur will start the team's final two regular season games.
Brodeur didn't excuse himself from blame.
"Not good enough to win a hockey game," Brodeur said in evaluating his own play. "That's the bottom line. When you face a goalie is playing so well and the way he played today, you just want to make sure you keep your team in the game and definitely giving them a three-goal lead, regardless of how it happens, it's something you have to try to avoid."
Of the four goals Brodeur gave up tonight, the one the seemed the most stoppable was John Mitchell's 1:34 into third period, First of all, it killed the Devils' hopes a comeback. They had cut it to 3-1 with 1:07 left in the second period and seemed to have some momentum. But Mitchell's goal put the Maple Leafs back up by three.
It came after Niklas Hagman won a battle for the puck with defenseman Mike Mottau behind the net. Hagman slid the puck in front for Mitchell, who found an opening between Brodeur's pads.
"The guy missed the shot," Brodeur said. "I was moving and it kind of just snuck through my pads."
Right wing Brian Gionta said he needed six stitches to close two cuts -- one under his right eye and another on the right side of his nose -- from the high stick he took from Jay Harrison late in the first period.
Defenseman Bryce Salvador flexed his right knee a few times after he blocked a shot by Mikhail Grabovski with 4:10 left in the game, but said his knee was OK after the game.
Paul Martin suffered a cut on the bridge of his nose late in the second period, but wasn't sure if it came from his own stick or from one of the Maple Leafs.
"I don't know what it was," he said. "It was behind the net. I banged into somebody."