Martin Brodeur came within 10:24 of tying Terry Sawchuk's NHL record for career shutouts. He had to settle for his 563rd win while handing the Pittsburgh Penguins just their second loss of the season.
Alex Goligoski's goal at 9:36 of the third period spoiled Brodeur's bid for what would have been his reord-tying 103rd career shutout. Instead, he finished with 32 saves and the victory as the New Jersey Devils beat Pittsburgh 4-1 on Saturday night, ending the Penguins' seven-game winning streak.
"It's all about winning," Brodeur said. "We're going to go through this [discussion about the shutouts record] a lot as we go through games. It will be close a lot where hopefully it's going to happen, but it will happen eventually. That's my attitude about it. I'm just happy because this was a big win for us."
It was Brodeur's his second crack at tying the record after getting shutout No. 102 by blanking Carolina 2-0 last Saturday in New Jersey.
The Devils improved to 5-0-0 away from the PrudentialCenter, the best road start in franchise history. They are now 6-3-0, have won three in a row and six of their last seven. Pittsburgh fell to 9-2-0.
"I think they played the way that they wanted to play tonight," Goligoski said. "And they played better than we did."
It was a vintage Devils' performance -- solid goaltending, tight checking and opportunistic offense.
"I think that we played a really good, tight game," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We didn't give them much.
"I really enjoyed the game because we had no passengers; everyone did their job and was good with the puck. [The Penguins] were waiting for a little life, which we never gave them."
The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins entered the game tied for second in the league in goals, and New Jersey held reigning scoring champ Evgeni Malkin without to a shot on goal or a point.
"I think we played really well in all three zones," Lemaire said. "They had some chances, but rebounds were ours."
The Devils gave Brodeur more than enough support.
Rookie Mark Fraser scored his first NHL goal midway through the first period for the Devils when Marc-Andre Fleury accidentally batted his soft shot into the net, and Niclas Bergfors smacked home a loose puck for a power-play goal at 14:31 of the second and a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.
Travis Zajac made it 3-0 just 26 seconds into the third period, pumping a rebound past Fleury -- who lost for the first time in nine decisions this season.
The Devils went into shutdown mode after Zajac's goal, and Brodeur preserved the shutout temporarily just over seven minutes into the final period when he stopped Jordan Staal at his left post on a wraparound.
But it wasn't enough. Brodeur stopped Pascal Dupuis' blast from the right point, but the rebound came to Goligoski in the lower right circle, and he wasted no time putting it high into the net.
Zach Parise added an insurance goal for the Devils with 3:28 remaining, beating Fleury with a backhander.
Fleury began the season 8-0 and hadn't allowed more than two goals in all but two of his previous starts.
"It's one of those nights that you don't want to ever happen, but the other team is trying to win, too, and they played well," Pittsburgh forward Bill Guerin said.
--John Kreiser, NHL.com
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
|Mark Fraser (1) ASST: Niclas Bergfors (3), Dainius Zubrus (4)|
1 - 0 NJD
|PPG - Niclas Bergfors (2) ASST: Rod Pelley (1), Jamie Langenbrunner (4)|
2 - 0 NJD
|Travis Zajac (5) ASST: Zach Parise (6), David Clarkson (5)|
3 - 0 NJD
|Alex Goligoski (3) ASST: Pascal Dupuis (2), Sidney Crosby (5)|
3 - 1 NJD
|Zach Parise (6) ASST: Travis Zajac (5), David Clarkson (6)|
4 - 1 NJD
|Travis Zajac Tripping against Ruslan Fedotenko|
|Zach Parise Tripping against Brooks Orpik|
|Jay Pandolfo Slashing against Jordan Staal|
|Mike Rupp Boarding against Jay Pandolfo|
|Rod Pelley Hi-sticking against Matt Cooke|
|Matt Cooke Cross checking against Andy Greene|
|Andy Greene Slashing against Matt Cooke|