Another of hockey's legendary records stands ready to fall at the hands of Martin Brodeur.
The New Jersey Devils goaltender, who became the all-time winningest goaltender late last season when he surpassed Patrick Roy's old mark of 552, tied the NHL record for career shutouts Monday night when he stopped all 22 shots by the Buffalo Sabres in a 3-0 win at HSBC Arena.
It was the 103rd shutout of Brodeur's illustrious career, tying him with Hall of Fame goaltender Terry Sawchuk, who accomplished the mark in 971 career games for the Red Wings, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Kings and Rangers.
"I think with the last few games, we had a couple going into the third with no goals," said Brodeur, who had been waiting to tie the record since his last shutout on Oct. 17 against Carolina.
"When it was nine minutes left I was like, well let's try to beat this, and then move on to five minutes and really think about it in the last five minutes. The guys played really well in front of me and made a big difference in why we were able to get a shutout, but especially a big win."
The victory was the 575th of Brodeur's career. He is also five appearances shy of surpassing Roy's record of 1,029 games.
''He's one of the best there is and there's a lot of reasons for it,'' Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told The Associated Press. ''He loves the game, and he works at it every day. He respects his teammates, and is a team player. He's been with us from Day 1, and he's never changed. No matter what success he has, he's the same person and he loves to win.''
Brian Rolston scored the only goal Brodeur would need with 2:09 left in the first period, beating Sabres goalie Ryan Miller from in close. Travis Zajac added to the lead 67 seconds later with a blast from just inside the blue line that trickled through Miller, and Niclas Bergfors struck on a power play 38 seconds into the middle period.
Bergfors, in his rookie season with the Devils, didn't quite comprehend the magnitude of the game until his captain informed him.
''I told him that Marty set a record, and he said, 'Another record?''' Jamie Langenbrunner said. ''It's pretty amazing … it's hard enough to get 100 wins in this League, let alone 100 shutouts. Obviously it's pretty special.''
Miller, who entered Monday leading the League in goals-against average (1.85) and save percentage (.936), finished with 34 saves.
''If you're going to lose, at least you're here for something good with that,'' Miller said. ''He's a great goalie and has accomplished a lot. That's a lot of shutouts.''
Brodeur stopped five shots in the first period, seven in the second and 10 in the third. Playing behind Jacques Lemaire's defensive system and defensemen like Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and Ken Daneyko for much of his career, Brodeur got used to games where he had to stay sharp despite not seeing a lot of pucks.
"I think you have to stay in the game by talking a lot and communicating with your players and playing the puck a bit," Brodeur said. "It was nice. We just dominated the first two periods, and especially in the second, early on, it was nice to see. We don't see that a lot in New Jersey, but the guys played really well and hopefully we'll gain confidence from that."
"'He's one of the best there is and there's a lot of reasons for it. He loves the game, and he works at it every day. He respects his teammates, and is a team player. He's been with us from Day 1, and he's never changed. No matter what success he has, he's the same person and he loves to win."
-- Lou Lamoriello on Martin Brodeur
With the shutout on the line in the third, Brodeur stopped a hard shot by Thomas Vanek with about 8:40 left. Drew Stafford's shot following a defensive zone turnover by the Devils was turned aside by Brodeur with 7:40 remaining. He stopped Jason Pominville from the side of the net with 5:06 left.
''We made it pretty easy on him,'' Pominville said. ''I don't think we had 10 shots after two periods. Against the best goalie in the world, you give him 10 shots, he's not going to let up much.''
Brodeur recorded his first career shutout on Oct. 20, 1993, in a 4-0 win over Anaheim at the Meadowlands. His career high for shutouts was 12 during the 2006-07 season. He also posted 11 in 2003-04 and had back-to-back seasons with 10 in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Among goaltenders currently active, Detroit's Chris Osgood has the second-most shutouts with 50, while Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov follow with 49 apiece.
"I just look behind me and there's nobody close," Brodeur said. "That's pretty impressive to see so many shutouts. But I think it's just a lot of credit to the organization I've been playing all my career, the commitment defensively I think all the players who went through this organization while I was here that they made. It became a big number and hopefully it won't stop there."
With the victory, the Devils are 20-7-1, the best start through 28 games in franchise history. Their third straight win moved them into a tie for first with Pittsburgh in the Atlantic
Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.
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