It's not surprising Montreal native Martin Brodeur loves to come back to the city where he grew up. Unfortunately for the Canadiens, he's not just some tourist -- he's the winningest goaltender in NHL history, and he saves some of his best work for his hometown.
Brodeur extended his NHL record for shutouts to 112 on Thursday by making 29 saves as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Canadiens, 3-0. Nine of those shutouts have come against the Habs; five have come at the Bell Centre, matching Atlanta's Philips Arena for the most he's had in a visiting building.
The Bell Centre has been an especially enjoyable stopover for Brodeur and the Devils -- he's now 16-8-1 at the Canadiens' home since 1996. In all, Brodeur is 39-16-5 in his 60 starts against the team he grew up watching (his father was the long-time team photographer), the most victories he's had against any team outside the Atlantic Division.
Brodeur blanks Canadiens (Francois Lacasse/NHLI)
Given Brodeur's brilliance, it's not surprising the Devils have had more success in Montreal than any other team in the NHL during the last 17 years. New Jersey has won its last five visits and is 9-2 in its last 11. Beginning in 1993-94, Brodeur's first full season in the NHL, the Devils are 19-11-2-1 in Montreal, by far the best of any opponent during that span.
More Marty -- Thursday's win was the 23rd time Brodeur has won a game by a 3-0 score -- his most common margin of victory is 2-0, which has happened 27 times. It was his 53rd road shutout; for perspective, no active goaltender has that many career shutouts. The nine shutouts against the Canadiens are one short of the most he's had against any team, but he's needed 74 decisions to get 10 shutouts against the New York Islanders, while the nine shutouts of Montreal have come in just 60 decisions.
Side benefits, I -- Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk probably wasn't thinking about goaltender Kari Lehtonen's prowess in shootouts when he acquired him from Atlanta toward the end of last season. But Lehtonen's shootout success in Atlanta has carried over to his new home and the new season.
Lehtonen has won both of his shootouts this season, beating the Islanders and the Blues in games in which his team was badly outshot. He's now 23-8 in his 31 career shootouts, the fifth-highest victory total among active goaltenders. His .742 winning percentage is No. 1 all-time among goaltenders who have taken part in 25 or more shootouts, and his .758 save percentage is .001 behind Mathieu Garon.
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Side benefits, II -- If nothing else, free-agent signee P.A. Parenteau has helped make the New York Islanders dangerous when they get a 5-on-3 advantage.
Parenteau, who's spent most of his career in the AHL, scored during a two-man advantage in the Isles' 3-2 overtime win at Tampa Bay on Thursday. It was the Islanders' third 5-on-3 goal in seven games this season -- only one other team has more than one -- and Parenteau has been involved in all three, scoring two and assisting on the other.
Wins coming in threes -- It took a week or so, but it looks like Marty Turco is settling in just fine in Chicago.
After going 0-1-1 in his first two starts with his new team, Turco takes a personal four-game winning streak into Friday's game at St. Louis. That may not sound like a lot, but it's his longest winning since he won five straight with Dallas from Jan. 21 to Feb. 3, 2009. Since then he's had only one win streak as long as three games.
Making the most with the least -- Perhaps no goaltender in the NHL has done more with less offensive support than Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff.
"Kipper" got his first shutout of the new season Tuesday by blanking the Nashville Predators 1-0 in overtime. It was his 35th NHL shutout, and 12 of them -- more than one in three -- have been 1-0 victories. Of Kiprusoff's 11 shutouts since the start of the 2007-08 season, five have been 1-0 wins and only one has been by more than three goals.
Wild time on the power play -- The Minnesota Wild have had their ups and downs this season, but one thing they've been able to do is score on the power play.
Two weeks into the season, the Wild are tops on the power play with 12 goals in 27 tries, a 44.4-percent success rate. At home, they are an amazing 10 for 19 -- 52.6 percent.
Two reasons for the big numbers at home are the Wild's performances against Edmonton and Vancouver. They were 4-for-6 in a 4-2 victory against Edmonton in their home opener and 3-for-3 in Tuesday's 6-2 victory against the Canucks.
"No lead is ever safe" -- Yes, it's a cliché, but as last Saturday proved, hanging on to a lead, even a multi-goal margin, isn't easy.
There were 12 games on the schedule last Saturday, and five of them saw a team win after trailing by two goals. Atlanta and Washington rallied on the road, while Montreal, Chicago and Dallas came from behind at home.
The Thrashers' 4-2 victory against the Sharks also marked the franchise's first-ever victory in San Jose. They had been 0-5-1 at HP Pavilion since entering the NHL in 1999, and never had scored more than three goals there.