NEWARK, N.J. - Martin Brodeur stands alone among NHL goaltenders.
Brodeur posted his 552nd win and passed childhood idol and Hall of Famer Patrick Roy for the most career victories in league history. He made 30 saves in the New Jersey Devils' 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
The victory came in Brodeur's 987th game in a 15-year career played entirely with the Devils.
During that tenure, the likable Brodeur has led the Devils to three Stanley Cups and won four Vezina trophies as the league's top goaltender.
Now he holds the wins record, and others could soon fall. He is within four shutouts of passing Terry Sawchuk (103) for the league record, and at 36 he has a chance to push his win total well beyond 600.
"If this continues being fun, I'll stick around for a long time," Brodeur said during an on-ice interview after the game.
Brodeur tied the mark in an emotional setting, his hometown of Montreal on Saturday night with Roy in attendance.
With family in the crowd in Newark, Brodeur took the ice in front of a full house that cheered him from the warmup to the final buzzer, mostly with the echoing chant of "Mart-tee, Mart-tee, Mart-tee."
Those cheers turned to "Thank you, Marty" as the clock ticked down. Brodeur preserved the win with one last save in the closing seconds.
"Martin Brodeur is the gold standard of goaltending - the model of character, consistency and commitment to the craft," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a prepared statement. "A champion. A winner above all.
"It is difficult to imagine any player who is more universally, and deservedly, respected," Bettman added. "The National Hockey League is extremely proud of Martin, his historic achievement and his enduring contribution to our game."
Brodeur wasn't the only record-setter on the night for New Jersey. Patrik Elias became the Devils' career leading scorer when he recorded his 702nd point with a perfect pass to set up a short-handed goal by Brian Gionta late in the second period for a 3-0 lead.
The Devils took the pressure off Brodeur early with two goals against Nikolai Khabibulin in the opening 6:01 in extending their record for home wins to 10. Zach Parise set up both, finding Jamie Langenbrunner in the slot 38 seconds after the opening faceoff and then threading a pass through the crease to Travis Zajac at 6:01.
After that it was up to Brodeur to protect the lead and he looked extraordinarily focused in winning for the eighth time in nine games since returning from elbow surgery late in February.
Blackhawks defenceman Cameron Barker got the first Chicago goal, firing a point shot past a totally screened Brodeur on a power play late in the second period. Dustin Byfuglien made it 3-2 with 2:03 left in the game.
The Blackhawks have lost a season-high three straight game, and five of their last six.
Parise and Langenbrunner worked a great give-and-go in the opening minute to put New Jersey ahead. Langenbrunner made a pass from the left boards to Parise streaking down the right side, and Parise then found Langenbrunner alone in front for his 24th goal of the season.
Stationed at the left side of the net, Zajac got a slam-dunk for his 20th goal when Zajac found him at 6:01 as a Blackhawks penalty ended.
Elias led a 2-on-1 with Gionta late in the second period and then pumped his fist after the puck went into the net, allowing Elias to pass assistant coach John MacLean as the team's all-time leading scorer.
Notes: Roy earned his 551 wins in 1,029 games with Montreal and Colorado. ... Chicago has not beaten New Jersey since Oct. 10, 1998. The Blackhawks are 0-8-2-1 in that span. ... Despite the loss, Khabibulin has a 6-3-3 mark against Brodeur. ... Langenbrunner's goal gave him points in nine straight games.