Vulcanized rubber ringing off an iron post has always been one of Martin Brodeur
's favorite sounds, but it was perhaps never more beautiful than with 102 seconds remaining in Monday's game in Pittsburgh.
When Sidney Crosby
's wrist shot from about 15 feet in front of the crease sizzled past the New Jersey Devils
' legendary goalie, for a millisecond, if even that long, it appeared as if history would have to wait.
Crosby's shot hit off the right post and came back into play. Shutout No. 104 was intact.
"It was nice to hear it and then to be able to see the puck in front of me," Brodeur told NHL.com Tuesday morning, 13 or so hours after making even more history.
Less than a minute later, Evgeni Malkin
had a chance from the slot, but Brodeur snared his attempt out of the air with his catching glove, holding the puck as tight as he holds on to his infant son, Maxime.
Whether the puck was targeted for the net, the post or the back wall didn't matter.
"When you have Malkin two feet in front of you," Brodeur explained, "you just think you gotta get your glove on it."
Brodeur got something -- be it his glove, blocker, stick or body -- on every one of the 35 shots he faced Monday night to preserve a 4-0 victory and his record-breaking 104th career shutout, giving him sole possession of another NHL record, one that may be unbreakable.
held the record of 103 shutouts for 39 years until Brodeur tied him Dec. 7 at Buffalo. Now armed with 104 shutouts and many more games ahead of him, who knows where Brodeur, 37, will leave the record once he's done playing?
"Hockey has changed and I think selling the game of hockey through offense doesn't help the goalies to achieve this goal, but you have goalies that are exceptional and you never know," said Brodeur, the League's all-time wins leader with 580 and counting. "It'll be pretty tough (to break), but kids coming up will have something to shoot for. Maybe it'll be the goalie I have in my hands right now (Maxime)."
To Brodeur, the number 104 is, in a word, "impressive."
His closest competition among active goalies is Detroit's Chris Osgood
, who has 50. Roberto Luongo
and Evgeni Nabokov
each have 49.
"It's just mind boggling because of the fact that the active goalies are so far behind," Brodeur said. "Even the guys that are behind, they are my age. The gap between everybody and the length of the record holder that had it before me, all that together kind of makes me shake my head sometimes and think, 'That's impressive.' "
Unlike last year, when he counted the games and figured out that he could tie Patrick Roy's wins record in Montreal and then break it back home in New Jersey, Brodeur had no idea when his next shutout was coming.
All he knew is that, eventually, it would come. You can't argue with the law of averages.
"Usually I get one shutout every 10 games. That's my average," Brodeur said. Actually, it's one for every 9.92 appearances if you want to get technical about it. "That's the way I went about thinking about the record. I thought, 'It's going to happen because those are the odds.' It was easier for me to go through it because of that. If I win, I know there will be some that come by way of shutout."
His belief in that philosophy stems from the incredible buy-in from teammates throughout the years. He is "the fruit of this record" because there is a commitment from the organization to put a winner on the ice and from teammates who take as much pride in getting a shutout as Brodeur.
Monday night was a perfect example. Instead of going for the jugular and making it 5-0 or 6-0, the Devils did their best to preserve the shutout by chipping pucks out of the zone like it was a Stanley Cup Playoffs game.
The game was in hand and the shutout had to stay intact. That is the Devil way.
"Guys don't brag about saying they were part of so many shutouts last year, but these guys are doing it," Brodeur said. "They take a lot of pride in it. They think of it as a way of getting in people's heads for the next time we play them.
"I'm back there stopping the puck, but there are a lot of things happening in front of me."
And there was things happening all around him Monday night. While Brodeur enjoyed reveling in the historic moment, he took great pleasure from seeing his teammates do the same thing.
"I'm not on the bench and it's hard to know what people feel, but you could tell how involved they were after the game they were coming up to me and congratulating me," Brodeur said. "They were saying they were so nervous at the end; that they didn't want to make a mistake. It was fun. It was cool.
"Guys took pictures with me and the puck," he continued. "The training staff, the coaching staff, and Lou (Lamoriello), they were all excited. It was nice. You feel it's my thing, but a record like this, they were happy to be a part of it."
Brodeur kept his celebrating to a minimum, though. He did so quietly at a friend's house back in Jersey late Tuesday night and was joined by some teammates after they made the return trip from Pittsburgh.
"We had a couple of beers and just hung out," Brodeur said, downplaying it. "Celebrating these things…I'm not done playing the game so there will be more."
There will also be many more times where he's saved by his good friends, the right and the left posts. That ping will always be a pleasant sound, but maybe never again will echo the way it did Monday night in Pittsburgh.
"Everybody was on edge to see if I was going to do it or not," Brodeur said. "They stormed it up pretty good at the end. We survived."
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org