NEWARK, New Jersey (AP) — With the final seconds ticking off
the clock, Martin Brodeur saw the shot leave the stick of
Chicago forward Troy Brouwer, kicked out his right pad and
watched the puck head to the corner.
Within seconds, the buzzer sounded and Brodeur stood alone as
the NHL’s winningest goaltender with 552 career victories.
Childhood idol and Hall of Famer Patrick Roy was now behind him.
“It was an exciting night,” Brodeur said after making 30 saves
in the Devils’ 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
“I’m happy that it’s done and over with. It’s been chaotic, the
last few days. It was an awesome night. It was a great reception
from the fans.”
The end was a fitting tribute for the 36-year-old Brodeur. He
leapt into the air and pumped the right hand that held his stick
in exclamation as a sellout crowd once again roared “Mart-tee,
He was immediately surrounded by teammates in a celebration that
seemed akin to winning the Stanley Cup.
Instead of hoisting the trophy, Brodeur took out a pair of
scissors and cut the net.
“It’s definitely harder than I thought,” Brodeur quipped. “These
basketball players, it’s only a little net. This was a big net.
I had help from a couple of my teammates.”
While other Devils finished the job of cutting down the net,
Brodeur took a victory lap around the ice, high-fiving his
coaches as he passed the bench.
The victory came in Brodeur’s 987th game of a 15-year career
played entirely with the Devils.
During that tenure, the likable Brodeur has led the Devils to
three Stanley Cup titles and won the Vezina Trophy four times as
the league’s top goalie.
Now he holds the wins record, and another could soon fall. He is
within four shutouts of passing Terry Sawchuk (103) for the NHL
record, and he has a chance to push his win total well beyond
“If this continues being fun, I’ll stick around for a long
time,” Brodeur said.
As he spoke, a deafening roar of “Mart-tee, Mart-tee” filled the
“Guys were commenting that is was like a Stanley Cup atmosphere
there, you know the intensity, the excitement, the buzz in the
arena,” veteran Devils forward Brendan Shanahan said. “You felt
it from the drop of the puck. You felt it in warmup.”
Brodeur tied Roy’s mark in an emotional setting, his hometown of
Montreal on Saturday night with Roy in attendance.
“I thought it was pretty cool in Montreal, but this topped it,”
With family in the crowd in Newark, Brodeur took the ice in
front of a full house that cheered him from the warmup to the
final buzzer, mostly with the echoing chant of “Mart-tee,
Those cheers turned to “Thank you, Marty” as the clock ticked
down, and “Marty’s Better,” once the record was his.
“This is one of those really special moments that doesn’t come
along often,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who was in
attendance. “Maybe once in a lifetime, maybe once in two
“We witnessed some history here tonight, and the fans recognized
that. This building was on edge, emotionally excited
Brodeur wasn’t the only record-setter on the night for New
Jersey. Patrik Elias became the Devils’ career leading scorer
when he recorded his 702nd point with a perfect pass to set up a
short-handed goal by Brian Gionta late in the second period for
a 3-0 lead.
The Devils took the pressure off Brodeur early with two goals
against Nikolai Khabibulin in the opening 6:01 in extending
their record for home wins to 10. Zach Parise set up both,
finding Jamie Langenbrunner in the slot 38 seconds after the
opening faceoff and then threading a pass through the crease to
Travis Zajac at 6:01.
After that it was up to Brodeur to protect the lead, and he
looked extraordinarily focused in winning for the eighth time in
nine games since returning from elbow surgery late in February.
Blackhawks defenseman Cameron Barker got the first Chicago goal,
firing a point shot past a totally screened Brodeur on a power
play late in the second period. Dustin Byfuglien made it 3-2
with 2:03 left in the game.
“With 10 minutes left, I thought, ‘All right, this is finally
going to happen,'” Brodeur said. “I was a clockwatcher, a little
bit. When 2 minutes came and they scored, I said, ‘I’ve got 2
more minutes to kill.’ It made it tough in the last few minutes,
but we got it done.”
The loss was a season-high third straight for Chicago, and fifth
And Brodeur was a big part of that.
“He is a special goalie,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville
said. “You look at the consistency, the volumes of games he can
play and his consistency in the net. They changed the rules
because of the way he handled the puck. He’s amazing. Not many
goalies have that style and he keeps getting better and better
and better. At this stage of his career, he looks as good as
Parise and Langenbrunner worked a great give-and-go in the
opening minute to put New Jersey ahead. Langenbrunner made a
pass from the left boards to Parise streaking down the right
side, and Parise then found Langenbrunner alone in front for his
Stationed at the left side of the net, Zajac got a slam-dunk for
his 20th goal when Zajac found him at 6:01 as a Blackhawks
Elias led a 2-on-1 with Gionta late in the second period and
then pumped his fist after the puck went into the net, allowing
Elias to break assistant coach John MacLean’s record for points
with the Devils.