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TORONTO (AP) -- Martin Brodeur thought his latest shutout was long overdue.
"It's about time," New Jersey's goalie said. "Things have been going wrong for me."
Things went Brodeur's way Saturday night as he made 25 saves for his league-leading ninth shutout of the season, and Brian Gionta scored in the first period in the Devils' 1-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The win was the defending Stanley Cup champions' first in regulation since they beat Pittsburgh 2-0 on Dec. 27 -- a span of seven games.
"It's a big win," said Brodeur, who allowed eight goals in the previous two games. "It's a relief because of the bad streaking we're going through."
Brodeur recorded his first shutout since Dec. 18 at Atlanta. George Hainsworth has the record for shutouts in a season -- 22 in the 44-game season of 1928-29. The post-expansion mark is 15 set by Tony Esposito in 1969-70.
"Marty has quite a few shutouts in the first 40 games, so he has a great chance of winning MVP," Gionta said. "He is an awesome goalie. When you got him back there, you can take some liberties because you know he's going to bail you out."
Brodeur made several impressive saves throughout, including a sprawling stop on Mats Sundin in the second period. He leads active goalies with 73 career shutouts, 30 short of Terry Sawchuk's NHL record.
"Marty is a game-breaker," Toronto's Tom Fitzgerald said. "We had some chances."
Sundin and goalie Ed Belfour returned to the lineup, but the Maple Leafs lost their second straight. Sundin was suspended for throwing his broken stick into the stands. Belfour, who made 32 saves, missed three games with a strained groin.
New Jersey scored the only goal of the game with 57 seconds left in the first. Jay Pandolfo made a drop pass to Scott Niedermayer, who took a backhander, and Gionta got the rebound and scored.
Toronto's Mikael Renberg missed a chance from in front of the net when his shot went over the net in the second.
"I thought it was in. I was ready to pick that puck out of the net," Brodeur said. "He had the whole net to shoot at it. He must have just missed."
Brodeur made a nice pad save on Gary Roberts in the final two minutes. The Maple Leafs pulled Belfour and put an extra attacker on with a minute left, but they managed just one shot.
|Brian Gionta (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Scott Niedermayer (15), Jay Pandolfo (7)|
1 - 0 NJD
|Rob Skrlac Fighting (maj) against Nathan Perrott|
|Nathan Perrott Fighting (maj) against Rob Skrlac|
|Richard Jackman Hooking against Jeff Friesen|
|Brian Gionta Roughing against Gary Roberts|
|Mikael Renberg Roughing against Brian Gionta|