(East Rutherford, NJ, December 8) - Martin Brodeur doesn't think much about the NHL's greatest goaltenders, but he continues catching them on the career shutout list.
Brodeur recorded his 84th career shutout to tie Glenn Hall for third place overall and the New Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 for their fourth straight win Friday night.
"I'm moving up in the world of hockey and it's hard to think about all these big names, I'm surpassing," said Brodeur, who earlier this season passed Jacques Plante on the shutout list. "For me, I didn't think I would do that ever. I'm just happy it's happening and I hope it won't be the last guy I pass."
Brodeur made 28 saves in posting his fourth shutout of the season and helping New Jersey improve to 11-1-1 at home. The 34-year-old's best save was a sweeping glove stop on a power-play rebound attempt by Geoff Sanderson with 10:06 left in the second period and the Devils clinging to a 1-0 lead.
"He takes games away from you with saves like that," said Sanderson, who had a team-high six shots for the Flyers.
Ryan Potulny also banked a shot off both goalposts in the first period for the Flyers.
The only two goaltenders ahead of Brodeur on the shutout list are Terry Sawchuk (103) and George Hainsworth (94).
"Not taking anything away from any other goaltender, when you talk about numbers, he is going to be the best of the bunch," Devils center Scott Gomez said of Brodeur, who has led the Devils to three Stanley Cups in 13 seasons.
Fellow Devils center John Madden said Brodeur's career has been amazing.
"When he has a game like tonight, you certainly know he will be in the Hall of Fame and he is rewriting the books along the way," Madden said.
Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Gionta scored on the power play, while the Devil's penalty killers blanked the Flyers on six extra-man chances. Mike Rupp missed empty-net chances twice in the final minute.
Philadelphia was a little off, playing their first game in six days and being without Peter Forsberg. The center is having a hard time finding a skate to support his surgically repaired right ankle and he expects to miss at least four games trying to find the correct equipment.
"We're going to have to score by committee," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "Our team game is going to have to be outstanding from top to bottom. We need to compete hard on every shift."
The Devils, who beat Montreal on Wednesday with a power-play goal in overtime, needed just 29 seconds to convert their first chance against Antero Niittymaki at 3:37 of the first period.
Five New Jersey players touched the puck on the goal. Brian Rafalski started the rush and gave the puck to Gomez. Gionta eventually took a shot from the right circle that Elias tipped. Langenbrunner collected the rebound to score his 10th goal.
The Devils only needed 6 seconds to score after Potulny was sent off at 11:41 of the second period. Gomez won the draw and then tipped a point shot by Rafalski. Niittymaki made the save, but Gionta swatted the rebound into the net for his 12th goal, eighth on the power play.
Niittymaki finished with 22 saves, including a spectacular glove stop on Elias on a rebound during a first-period power play.
"Tonight was a step back," Niittymaki said after the last-place Flyers fell 14 points behind first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division. "We still had our chances, but we couldn't score. We play those guys five more times. It's not too late."
Notes: New Jersey is 3-0 against Philadelphia this season. ... Linesman Michel Cormier was cut above the left eye when he was struck by a clearing pass by Derian Hatcher that hit off the glass. ... Elias has points in five straight games (3 goals, 3 assists). ... The Flyers were 3-1-1 before their little vacation. The loss in the run came in the last game, a 4-3 shootout loss to New Jersey last Saturday.