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Brodeur claims record win, lifts Devils past Blackhawks

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,

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

600.

"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

arena.

"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,"

Brodeur said.

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,

Mart-tee, 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

lifetimes.

"We witnessed some history here tonight, and the fans recognized

that. This building was on edge, emotionally excited

throughout."

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

in sixth.

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

ever."

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

24th goal.

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

penalty ended.

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.

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