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Brodeur looks to eclipse Roy for all-time wins record

By Jon Palmieri

Stats Editor

Chicago (37-21-9) at New Jersey (45-20-3), 7:00 p.m. EDT

NEWARK, New Jersey (AP) -- In a remarkable career filled with

accomplishments, Martin Brodeur's next achievement will rank as

his most impressive.

After matching the career record for goaltending victories in

his native Montreal, Brodeur can set the all-time mark in New

Jersey - the only professional home he's known - on Tuesday

night when the surging Devils face the Chicago Blackhawks.

Brodeur's legacy as one of the game's best goaltenders is

already secure, having won four Vezina Trophies, three Stanley

Cups and 551 games in 16 seasons - all with the Devils. The

argument that he is the best ever at his position will gain

credence with his 552nd win, which will move him past Hall of

Famer Patrick Roy into the all-time lead.

Showing no signs of slowing down and with three years left on

his contract, Brodeur's final win total won't be matched for a

long time. The closest active goalies behind him are Curtis

Joseph (484) - a backup with Toronto - and Detroit's Chris

Osgood (385), who at age 36 is unlikely to ever equal Brodeur's


"I will just put myself in a class of my own, for now," Brodeur

said Monday when asked about breaking the mark. "When people

look at stats now, there are two names at 551. There will be one

name at 552 when I get there. After that, it's 553 and I will

just try to raise the bar as high as I can."

While many of his contemporaries are slowing down, Brodeur

appears to somehow be getting better. He would have broken the

record earlier this season, but he suffered the first serious

injury of his career and missed nearly four months while

recovering from left elbow surgery.

The time off may have been beneficial for the 10-time All-Star,

who improved to 7-1-0 with a 1.94 goals-against average since

his Feb. 26 return with 22 saves in a 3-1 victory over Montreal

on Saturday.

Brodeur's first chance to set the record comes against a

Blackhawks team that has lost four of five. He is 7-2-0 with

four ties and a 1.88 lifetime GAA against them but hasn't faced

Chicago (37-21-9) since Nov. 9, 2006, long before young stars

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews arrived with the Blackhawks.

"It's a tough team, young team coming in here and it'll be the

first time I play against some of those guys, so it'll be an

interesting game," Brodeur said.

The Devils (45-20-3) have earned at least one point in 11

straight games against the Blackhawks, going 9-0-0 with two ties

since a 2-1 loss on Oct. 10, 1998.

Brodeur would like nothing better than to surpass Roy's record

in New Jersey.

"There is that sense of pride being on one team and making the

commitment to people in the organization and fans, that you want

to stay here and love where you are at," Brodeur said.

Whether it's been Brodeur, Scott Clemmensen or Kevin Weekes in

net, the Devils continue to win. New Jersey has gone an NHL-best

38-13-1 since Nov. 15 to move within six points of Boston for

the Eastern Conference lead.

The Devils have also won nine straight at home, limiting

opponents to 13 total goals in that span.

Brodeur's longtime teammate Patrik Elias is also on the doorstep

of history, needing one point to become the Devils' all-time

scoring leader. He has 701, tying him for the lead with current

assistant coach John MacLean.

"Patty's accomplishment is pretty phenomenal in itself," Devils

coach Brent Sutter told the team's official Web site. "Obviously

it says something about the career that Johnny Mac had here, and

I think that goes unnoticed a little bit too."

Despite their current slump, the Blackhawks are still in line to

reach the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02. Chicago,

coming off Sunday's 4-2 home loss to the New York Islanders, is

fourth in the West, two points ahead of Vancouver.


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