Brodeur breaks all-time wins record
With the final seconds ticking off the clock, Martin Brodeur saw the shot leave the stick of Chicago forward Troy Brouwer, kicked out his right pad and watched the puck head to the corner.
Within seconds, the buzzer sounded and Brodeur stood alone as the NHL's winningest goaltender with 552 career victories. Childhood idol and Hall of Famer Patrick Roy was now behind him.
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Photos: With Martin Brodeur taking over the regular season wins record,
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"It was an exciting night," Brodeur said after making 30 saves in the Devils' 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night. "I'm happy that it's done and over with. It's been chaotic, the last few days. It was an awesome night. It was a great reception from the fans."
The end was a fitting tribute for the 36-year-old Brodeur. He leapt into the air and pumped the right hand that held his stick in exclamation as a sellout crowd once again roared "Mart-tee, Mart-tee."
He was immediately surrounded by teammates in a celebration that seemed akin to winning the Stanley Cup.
Instead of hoisting the trophy, Brodeur took out a pair of scissors and cut the net.
"It's definitely harder than I thought," Brodeur quipped. "These basketball players, it's only a little net. This was a big net. I had help from a couple of my teammates."
While other Devils finished the job of cutting down the net, Brodeur took a victory lap around the ice, high-fiving his coaches as he passed the bench.
The victory came in Brodeur's 987th game of a 15-year career played entirely with the Devils.
During that tenure, the likable Brodeur has led the Devils to three Stanley Cup titles and won the Vezina Trophy four times as the league's top goalie.
Now he holds the wins record, and another could soon fall. He is within four shutouts of passing Terry Sawchuk (103) for the NHL record, and 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.
As he spoke, a deafening roar of "Mart-tee, Mart-tee" filled the arena.
"Guys were commenting that is was like a Stanley Cup atmosphere there, you know the intensity, the excitement, the buzz in the arena," veteran Devils forward Brendan Shanahan said. "You felt it from the drop of the puck. You felt it in warmup."
Brodeur tied Roy's mark in an emotional setting, his hometown of Montreal on Saturday night with Roy in attendance.
"I thought it was pretty cool in Montreal, but this topped it," Brodeur said.