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Brodeur shines in return as Devils blank Avalanche

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The song "Happy days are here

again" echoed throughout the Prudential Center before the New

Jersey Devils took the ice for pregame warm-ups. In Martin

Brodeur's much-anticipated return, its message sure rang true.

After missing four months with a devastating injury, Brodeur

made 24 saves and All-Star Zach Parise and Travis Zajac each

recorded a goal and two assists as the Devils blanked the

Colorado Avalanche, 4-0, on Thursday.

Captain Jamie Langenbrunner scored a goal and set up another,

Patrik Elias also tallied and defenseman Paul Martin notched two

assists for New Jersey, which went 32-17-1 without Brodeur.

A four-time Vezina Trophy winner, Brodeur turned aside five

shots in the first period, 12 in the second and seven in the

third to register his third shutout of the season and 99th

career - leaving him four behind Terry Sawchuk's all-time mark

of 103.

Brodeur also recorded his 545th career win, pulling within six

of Patrick Roy's all-time record.

Andrew Raycroft stopped 28 shots for Colorado, which has lost

three in a row.

The 36-year-old Brodeur was not tested often but appeared to

shake off whatever rust built up from not playing since a 6-1

win over the Atlanta Thrashers on November 1, when he suffered a

tear in his distal biceps muscle in his left arm. He also

received plenty of help on the offensive end.

Langenbrunner opened the scoring at 4:38 of the opening period,

accepting a pass from Zajac and firing a hard slap shot from the

right faceoff circle that sailed by Raycroft.

In the following session, Elias doubled the lead by lifting a

wrist shot into the vacant net while stationed on the doorstep

at 8:43.

Parise netted his team-leading 36th goal of the season, skating

in toward the low slot and using a nifty deke before beating

Raycroft at 8:06 of the third. Zajac secured the victory with a

wrister with 3:13 remaining in the contest.

The Devils, who suffered a 4-0 blanking to the lowly New York

Islanders on Saturday, improved to 6-1-0 in games after being

shut out.



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