NEWARK, N.J. Bryce Salvador sat at one end of the podium on Saturday night, fresh off tallying the game-winning goal that kept the New Jersey Devils alive in the Stanley Cup finals.
And with Salvador notching his fourth playoff goal after scoring none in the regular season, goaltender Martin Brodeur couldnt resist.
We were looking for him to score a goal all year, so he peaked at the right time, if you ask me, Brodeur said with a smile, looking over as the Devils defenseman. Its pretty impressive.
All kidding aside, what Salvador is doing in these playoffs is impressive. The veteran, who had zero goals and nine assists in 82 games this season, now has 14 points in these playoffs. In his previous seven combined postseason appearances (four with St. Louis and three with the Devils), Salvador had just four points total.
Points from defensemen are big anytime, especially in the playoffs. Duncan Keith had 17 for the Blackhawks during their Cup run two seasons ago, Bostons Zdeno Chara tallied 16 en route to the Cup last season. The Kings Drew Doughty currently has 14.
With his current numbers, Salvador could take his goal-less regular season in stride.
I went 82 games without scoring, so any goal I can take, I'm taking it, Salvador said with a smile. I think whenever you can contribute on the score sheet, you enjoy it. But its more important that the team is having success, and that's what matters. The only reason people are asking about the points is because the team is having success.
Salvador has shown great timing in these playoffs, and the Devils have benefited from his renaissance postseason.
Yeah, that's something that he's really kind of mastered here over the last month of the playoffs, Devils coach Peter DeBoer said of Salvadors patience. He's had great composure back there for us, getting shots through. We wouldn't be here without him.
The fact Salvador is even here, playing at all, is a welcome sight. Salvador suffered an inner-ear concussion after taking a puck to the head, and missed the entire 2010-11 season. He and Zach Parise, who also missed last season after having knee surgery, were just hoping to get back as soon as they could.
This time last year we were worried about tying our shoes up and trying to get into shape. We were seeing if we could run on the track and get back on the ice, Salvador said. It's been a great experience. It's one of those things that you enjoy because the team's having success.
And Salvadors contributions are a big reason why the Devils are having that success. Salvador has been an unlikely producer, the surprise scoring machine. Timing is everything. And Salvadors timing, be it on a particular shot or be it his entire postseason, couldnt be better.
The fact that some offense is coming along with it is nice. But I think at the end of the day, you know, I want to make sure that I'm protecting Marty and keeping the puck out of the net and playing strong defensively, Salvador said. I think you're seeing a bunch of individuals having success because the team is having success. Its not just me. There are a lot of guys contributing. Right now everyone's enjoying it because we're getting some momentum.