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Busy week for Brodeur

by Mike G. Morreale

It's been a busy week for New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur and the nine-time NHL All-Star is hoping it gets even better tonight.

Martin Brodeur signed autographs for fans at the NHL Powered by Reebok store in New York City Tuesday night.
On Monday, the three-time Vezina Trophy winner was named the team's Most Valuable Player for the second-straight season and the 10th time over his illustrious 15-season career. He received MVP awards from 1996 through 2003, sharing the 2001 award with Patrik Elias. On Tuesday, Brodeur attended a meet-and-greet session with fans at the NHL Powered By Reebok store, where he graciously signed autographs and posed for pictures for over an hour.

Brodeur was humbled in receiving the team award, which was presented to him by Devils' assistant coach Larry Robinson during Monday's player award ceremony at Prudential Center.

"It's nice to receive honors like this especially when it's one that the players vote for," Brodeur told "It means they really appreciated what you have done all season. I don't know if I really deserve it or not since there have been so many guys playing so well this season. I'm just happy to be a part of the success that this organization has been having. We've kind of built our team from the goalie out, so I'm grateful I've been able to do my part."

This evening, however, it's back to work when Brodeur and his teammates face off against their Atlantic Division rival, the New York Rangers, at Prudential Center at 7 p.m. ET. Brodeur is looking forward to getting another crack at a team he hasn't beaten in five starts this season.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (33-23-7, 2.30 goals-against average) has certainly gotten the best of the Devils in the five triumphs this season. The third-season goalie has a 0.80 GAA, .968 save percentage and two shutouts against the Devils, including a 33-save, 3-1 triumph in the most recent meeting on Feb. 1 in Newark.

Brodeur is 38-18-3 with 15 ties, seven shutouts and a 2.06 goals-against average in 74 starts against the Rangers. This season, he's 0-3-2 with a 1.98 GAA. The Devils have scored just four goals in the five meetings against the Rangers this season.

The Devils are currently seeded first in the Eastern Conference, five points ahead of the sixth-seeded Rangers. Brodeur, who has established an NHL-record seven straight 40-win seasons, is 18 victories shy of topping former Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy's career mark of 551 wins. He reached the 40-win plateau on Saturday, making 24 saves in a 4-2 win at Colorado. For the season, the three-time Stanley Cup winner is 40-22-5 with a 2.15 GAA, .922 save percentage and four shutouts.

New Jersey has gone 14-4-3 over its last 21 games and remains one point ahead of fourth-seeded Pittsburgh in the Atlantic. In fact, the top four teams in the division are separated by just eight points, making tonight's confrontation all the more critical for both sides. Brodeur has started the last 31 games and has gone 19-9-3 over that stretch. He and San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov (41-20-8, 2.13 GAA) are still neck-and-neck for establishing the most wins by a goalie this season.

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