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Devils 4, Avalanche 0 @NHLdotcom

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -The script was worthy of an Oscar. Well, make it a Marty.

Martin Brodeur returned as good as ever after missing 50 games following elbow surgery, making 24 saves in the New Jersey Devils' 4-0 victory over Colorado on Thursday night for his 99th career shutout.

"You just go out there and play," the 36-year-old Brodeur said. "Sometimes it happens. I never really think about it and I don't want to jinx myself thinking about shutouts."

The best news for the Devils and Brodeur was that he looked sharp in his first game since having a biceps muscle in his left elbow repaired in early November.

"The elbow was great," Brodeur said. "I didn't feel anything all game long. I tested it a couple of times, especially getting up and moving across."

The four-time Vezina Trophy winner was greeted by a standing ovation and was cheered every time he touched the puck.

"I don't know if they were sarcastic about cheering me on the saves sometimes but it was definitely nice," Brodeur said.

Brodeur posted his third shutout in 11 games this season to move within four of Terry Sawchuk's regular-season mark of 103, and reached 545 victories to close within six of tying Patrick Roy's record.

"It was an exciting night to get out there and perform," Brodeur said. "I was really anxious all day, more nervous that I thought I was going to be. We pulled it off. It was nice to score early in the game. I didn't get much work. It was a nice game to play."

Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner, Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac scored, but the night belonged to Brodeur.

"He hasn't missed a beat," Zajac said. "He's making plays, moving the puck. He was doing all the little things he was doing before. That's what makes him such a good goalie."

At New York, David Booth and Nathan Horton scored on consecutive shots a minute apart in the third for Florida, spoiling Rangers coach John Tortorella's home debut.

Tortorella replaced the fired Tom Renney on Monday, and directed the team in a shootout loss Wednesday night in Toronto. New York is 2-8-4 in its last 14 games.

Craig Anderson made 40 saves for Florida, allowing only Markus Naslund's goal.

At Boston, Tim Thomas stopped 35 shots for his fourth shutout of the season, Michael Ryder had two goals and an assist for Boston in his second game back after facial surgery, and Chuck Kobasew also scored twice.

Matt Hunwick and Byron Bitz added goals to help the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins match last season's total of 42 wins.

At Ottawa, Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau scored power-play goals 1:18 apart in the second period, and Brian Boucher made 23 saves for NHL-leading San Jose.

Michalek scored 11:26 into the second, and Marleau got his 34th goal at 12:44 as San Jose took advantage of consecutive power plays.

Mike Fisher scored for Ottawa.

At Edmonton, Alberta, rookie Steve Mason made 19 saves in his eighth shutout for Columbus, and Raffi Torres scored against his former team.

Jared Boll hit Torres with a long pass and the former Oiler came in on the breakaway and slid the puck through Dwayne Roloson's legs 7:45 into the third period.

At Raleigh, N.C., Jussi Jokinen scored the shootout winner, and Cam Ward made 36 saves to help Carolina tie Buffalo for eighth place in the East.

Carolina's Anton Babchuk tied it in the third period when he one-timed a slap shot past Patrick Lalime.

Patrick Kaleta scored for the Sabres, who have lost two straight since star goalie Ryan Miller sprained his ankle Saturday night against the Rangers.

At Washington, Alexander Semin scored one of the Capitals' three power-play goals and assisted on both of the others, including Mike Green's go-ahead goal.

Green's 23rd goal - most among NHL defensemen - snapped a 2-all tie in the second period. Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr also scored.

Ilya Kovalchuk, Rich Peverly and Todd White scored for Atlanta.

At Nashville, Tenn., Jason Arnott scored an unassisted goal 54 seconds after Phoenix tied it in the second, and the Predators won their third straight.

Joel Ward had a goal and an assist, and Steve Sullivan and David Legwand also scored. Ed Jovanovski scored for Phoenix.

At Uniondale, N.Y., Tim Stapleton scored in the third round of the shootout to lift Toronto to its third straight extra-time victory.

The teams traded goals in the second round, with Jeff Tambellini scoring for the Islanders and Jason Blake answering for the Maple Leafs.

The Islanders tied it with 3:07 left in regulation on Jon Sim's goal.

Nikolai Kulemin, Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina and Nik Antropov scored for Toronto, and Vesa Toskala stopped 42 shots.

Dean McAmmond, Sean Bergenheim and Mark Streit also scored for the Islanders.

At Dallas, Chris Mason made 41 saves, and rookie T.J. Oshie scored the go-ahead goal in the third period for St. Louis.

Jay McClement and Patrik Berglund also scored for the Blues, 8-2-4 in their last 14 games. Jere Lehtinen scored for Dallas.

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