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Devils push Kings to Game 6 behind Martin Brodeur

Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador (right) celebrates with AntVolchenkov after scoring second period. | AP

Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador (right) celebrates with Anton Volchenkov after scoring in the second period. | AP

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Kings lead series 3-2
All games at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5

Game 1: Kings 2, at Devils 1 (OT)

Game 2: Kings 2, at Devils 1 (OT)

Game 3: at Kings 4, Devils 0

Game 4: Devils 3, at Kings 1

Game 5: at Devils 2, Kings 1

Monday: at Kings

x-Wednesday: at Devils

x- if necessary

Updated: July 11, 2012 10:36AM

NEWARK, N.J. — Everyone should’ve known better. The Devils, after all, are still Martin Brodeur’s team.

Brodeur’s long career might not end after this season — he said so himself — but it was unthinkable that one of the final chapters of his celebrated tale would end in a sweep.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion won’t go down without a fight. If the Kings want the Stanley Cup, they’ll have to wrestle it from his own Cup-winning hands.

They didn’t do that Saturday.

Brodeur had his best game of the finals in Game 5 at the Prudential Center, making 25 saves in a 2-1 victory for the Devils. New Jersey, thanks to Brodeur’s stellar play, has won two straight after losing the first three games of the best-of-seven series.

“I wish I had more ways to phrase it for you,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “But what else can you say? [Brodeur’s] performance speaks for itself.

“It’s the timing of it. The fact that we’re 9-1 or 10-1 in Games 4 through 7 in a series [this postseason] is a testament to how he enjoys that type of pressure.”

Devils star winger Zach Parise scored his first goal of the series, and defenseman Bryce Salvador also had a goal for the Devils, who seemed to irritate the typically stoic Kings.

Much of that annoyance has to do with the Kings’ inability to solve Brodeur the last two games. He only has allowed two goals in the Devils’ back-to-back victories.

By no means is Brodeur as quick and as dexterous as in his early days, but the 40-year-old can still come through with the timely highlight-reel save and be an inspiration to his younger teammates.

“He still looks like a young guy out there,” Devils rookie center Adam Henrique said. “He was unbelievable again.”

If there is pressure, Brodeur doesn’t appear to be feeling it. Brodeur, who celebrated his son’s birthday a day before Game 5, just seems to be enjoying everything about the Devils’ run. He has been all smiles, win or lose.

“I’m enjoying the ride, and I will until it’s done,” Brodeur said.

Brodeur was great when the Devils weren’t in Game 5. He turned away plenty of quality looks by the Kings, whether it was winger Justin Williams on his doorstep during a power play, Jeff Carter’s wraparound attempts or blasts from defensemen Drew Doughty and Willie Mitchell.

Williams was the only one able to beat Brodeur in Game 5. After hitting the post in the first, Williams tied the game at 1, firing a shot at a screened Brodeur 3:26 into the second period.

At the other end, Jonathan Quick (17 saves) had his brilliant moments, but his errant pass behind his net in the first period led to Parise’s power-play goal at 12:45 in the first. Salvador scored the eventual game-winner at 9:05 in the second period when his shot from the point bounced off Kings defenseman Slava Voynov.

The Kings might still go on to win the Cup — winning four in a row is unlikely for New Jersey — but the Devils have turned a rout into a competitive series.

How do the Devils instill more doubt in the Kings?

“Just got to win games, that’s it,” Brodeur said.

And, he has done that.

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