Not a bad first night back behind the bench for Lou Lamoriello. Brodeur got his 47th win and tied Parent’s record set in 1973-74 by making 22 saves in regulation, then stopping four-of-six attempts in a shootout for a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
“It’s amazing. I never thought I would be able to get that far into the wins in a season,” Brodeur said. “I’ve met Bernie and through the years I got to appreciate how hard it is to get to that 47 plateau.
“Even with the shootouts, it’s still a lot of wins and you have to play a lot of games.”
In some way this game was very different for Brodeur and the Devils. It came a day after Lamoriello fired Claude Julien with three games left in the regular season and the Devils in first place in the division.
Lamoriello defended the move, saying he didn’t like how the team was playing with the Stanley Cup playoffs a week away. He liked what he saw Tuesday.
“The focus was there, from the locker room, right onto the ice,” Lamoriello said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with their concentration and the way they were switching.
“If something didn’t go the way you’d like to see it, it didn’t matter.”
That was never more evident than in the shootout. New Jersey was twice a shot away from losing, but Jamie Langenbrunner and Sergei Brylin scored to extend the shootout to a sixth round.
Brodeur made a blocker save on Mike Fisher and John Madden, who had scored in regulation, skated in and slid a backhand past Ray Emery for the winner. The goal brought a wry smile to the face of Lamoriello, who was a lot more serious Monday.
“I think it’s a tremendous accomplishment, what this young man has done this season and throughout his whole career,” Lamoriello said of Brodeur. “It’s just amazing to me.
“Watching him in that shootout tonight, with that focus and concentration throughout the game, that’s the way he’s been all year. That whole room is as excited as it could possibly be for him.”
The win was the Devils third straight and fifth in six games. Coupled with Buffalo’s 4-1 win over Pittsburgh, it gave New Jersey a three-point lead in the division with two games to go.
“It was a little different, having him running the show again,” Brodeur said of Lamoriello, who replaced Larry Robinson as coach last season. “It was like he never left.
“I thought we played extremely well today under the circumstances of having pretty shocking news.”
Antoine Vermette and Mike Comrie scored in the shootout for Ottawa, which had a two-game winning streak snapped in losing for only the second time in seven games.
The Senators can clinch fourth in the conference by winning one of their final two games.
“We just wanted to play well going into the playoffs,” Emery said. “Home ice is a goal of ours, it’s not the end all.
“It’s more important to be playing well going into the playoffs.”
Madden and Daniel Alfredsson scored 21 seconds apart in the third period for the other goals.
Neither goaltender was beaten in the first three rounds of the shootout.
Vermette broke through in the fourth round with a backhand past Brodeur, but Langenbrunner beat Emery with a forehand shot after a good fake.
Comrie scored easily with a forehand shot to give the Senators a 2-1 lead but Brylin beat Emery with a great backhand shot.
Brodeur and Emery didn’t allow a goal for the opening 50 minutes, 15 seconds.
Madden gave the Devils the lead by deflecting a point shot by Brian Rafalski past Emery.
The Senators quickly tied the game, with Alfredsson taking a pass from Dany Heatley and beating Brodeur, who was partially screened by Jason Spezza.
Notes: Senators RW Patrick Eaves missed his third straight game with a groin injury. Devils C Scott Gomez missed his second straight with a leg injury. …Ottawa is 1-1-6 in its past eight overtime games. It is 1-4-6 against New Jersey in overtime. Devils RW Brian Gionta was hit on the foot by a shot in the third period and taken to a local hospital for X-rays. The results were not immediately available.