The Hurricanes are playing a dangerous game with Martin Brodeur. Consider these comments from Joe Corvo and Cam Ward on Brodeur's 44-save shutout in Game 5.
Corvo: "He played well last night, but I think on the other hand a lot of pucks just hit him and he had no clue where they were. … I think Cam played just as good or better than Marty yesterday."
Ward: "I'm not going to sit here and whine about being bumped once or twice."
Ward was responding to questions about the Devils wanting to be more aggressive in his crease, but Corvo was just offering an honest assessment of Game 5.
The Canes are obviously, whether consciously or otherwise, trying to tear down the mythology associated with Brodeur after what may have been the finest playoff performance in Brodeur's legendary career.
That may help with Carolina's mentality — it's the opposite of standing around saying "Will we ever score on this guy?" — but it's also giving Brodeur mental ammunition.
He is at his best when he is feeling disrespected or disenchanted, and look no further than how he played in Game 5 after flipping out at the end of Game 4 and continuing to bang the goalie-interference drum a day later.
When the Canes were up 3-0 on the Devils in 2006, and Brodeur was saying similar things about goalie interference and diving and various and sundry other charges, then-Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette had enough of Brodeur's complaining:
"Marty's good at doing what he does," Laviolette said. "In that [first] instance last night, he's the one who had the infraction but Justin (Williams) went to the box, because (Brodeur) has been around and knows what he's doing."
The next day, Brodeur was stellar in a 5-1 win, New Jersey's only win of the series.
It's impossible to blame Corvo and Ward for saying what they did, because they both clearly felt like they were saying what needed to be said after a considerable amount of talk coming from Brodeur's direction. But Brodeur has a lot more experience at these verbal games, and it will be interesting to see how he plays Sunday.