Martin Brodeur has done it. He made 22 saves Saturday to beat the Canadiens, 3-1, in Montreal, and tie Patrick Roy's all-time NHL wins record (551). With Roy in attendance, Brodeur was named First Star and received a standing ovation!!!
Martin Brodeur has given Patrick Roy company atop the NHL wins list. With his next start, he can become the winningest goaltender in League history.
The focus of the hockey world was upon the Devils' netminder Saturday in hockey-mad Montreal, and Brodeur responded with 22 saves to beat the Canadiens, 3-1, and tie Roy's NHL record with career victory No. 551.
Brodeur, who was saluted after the game by the fans in his hometown, admitted to having some nerves as regulation began to wind down.
"Feels pretty good," Brodeur told MSG Plus about securing his spot in the record books. "When the puck dropped it was fine. Maybe I got butterflies late in the game, but when we scored the third goal I thought, 'OK, maybe this could be it.' The game was so tight for so long that I didn't start thinking outside the box. I really wanted to make sure I was on my game."
Elias (l.) had two points to tie John MacLean's all-time franchise mark (701).
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The Devils took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Patrik Elias and Brian Rolston before Tomas Plekanec scored for the Canadiens. Jamie Langenbrunner added an insurance marker with 7:03 left in the third.
Montreal's final shot of the night – Brodeur's final save of the historic contest – was credited to Max Pacioretty with 30 seconds left in regulation. As the clock hit zero, Brodeur felt the emotion of the moment.
"It touched me just to look around and see the guys reacting," Brodeur said. "I just finally did it. This year I came in in great shape to start the season, and I got altered a little bit with my injury so it was nice to come back and put these wins together to get to that 551."
Roy attended the game, as did Brodeur's father, Denis. Brodeur will get his first shot at breaking the record Tuesday, when the Devils host Chicago at Prudential Center.
"I definitely glanced at him a couple of times," Brodeur said of his father, the former team photographer for the Canadiens. "It's definitely a great day for me to clinch this with Patrick in Montreal was an exciting time for me."
Because of the overwhelming media presence, Brodeur said he was unable to speak to Roy immediately following Saturday's game. But the outgoing wins leader made a point to visit Brodeur earlier in the day.
"He came to the hotel this morning and we had a good half hour conversation about a lot of different things about what was going to happen tonight a little bit," Brodeur said. "I definitely appreciated his time. His junior team (the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL) was playing about six, seven hours from here last night, and 9:30 in the morning he was meeting me in Montreal, so it was a pretty big commitment from him to do that.
"He kept on saying how proud he is. He retired when he was 37, 38 years old and he said, 'Good luck to you and get (the wins total) up there and there's not many guys that will be able to catch you,' so that was nice of him."
Brodeur's was the biggest, but not the only milestone of the evening for the Devils.
Elias also added an assist for career points No. 700 and 701, and tied John MacLean for the all-time franchise points mark. Rolston's goal was the 300th of his career, and Langenbrunner's 23rd of the season matched a career high.
Devils (45-20-3) won their third straight overall to sweep the season series with Montreal, and maintain their nine-point cushion over Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division. New Jersey took its seventh victory in eight games since Brodeur's return from elbow surgery on Feb. 26.
"It was a very exciting night for Marty and for the whole team and for me, personally, also," said Elias, who has appeared in 397 winning efforts alongside Brodeur, the most of any player in NHL history. "It's a great night for the whole team and for us as individuals. We were excited to come in here and play this game, obviously for Marty because of the hype. We played well and stayed with it; it was pretty amazing to see their crowd pay that kind of respect to Marty."
Devils head coach Brent Sutter said everything aligned Saturday for an unforgettable experience.
"It couldn't have happened to tie the record in a better place," Sutter said. "His hometown, obviously, he gets a standing ovation to end the game, he's named First Star. It's unbelievable how it's unfolded up to now, and it tells you something. It tells you something about Marty, and it tells you something about the history of the game, too, and how special it really is."
Sutter praised Roy's accomplishments, and added that the next step for Brodeur could be right around the corner.
"Accomplishments like this don't come around every day," Sutter said. "When you're talking about history in the game, it's a pretty phenomenal thing. Patrick Roy was an outstanding, phenomenal goaltender, and I know that first-hand from having played against him. He had a long career and everything he did, he deserved – Stanley Cups, the way he played and the amount of wins he got – and yet, it's a credit to Marty. At some point he'll go past (551), and hopefully soon."
The Devils controlled the game early on left and little doubt that Brodeur would leave the Bell Centre holding a share of the record.
Elias blasted home his 28th from the right point with two seconds left on a two-man advantage. That put the Devils on the board at 5:27, before Elias helped to set up Rolston for a 2-0 lead at 11:08.
On a Devils' power play, Rolston's dump in was knocked down by Montreal defenseman Mike Komisarek. Rolston collected the puck again and fired on net from the left side to beat Jaroslav Halak with his 14th.
The Devils outshot the Habs, 48-23.
Plekanec brought the Canadiens within one with a wrister from the right circle that found space on Brodeur's stick side at 12:29.
Langenbunner restored the two-goal cushion off of Travis Zajac's feed from the endboards at 12:57.
In the end, Plekanec's goal was the only blemish on Brodeur's memorable outing.
"It was just incredible," said Devils' President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello. "To watch the club rally around Marty at the end there as they did the whole game for 60 minutes, you could see there was a mission and a commitment. To look at our coaches just being a part of everything and the job that everyone has done. Just a fantastic night. This was a night of history, and the greatest part about this is that he's got many more wins in front of him."
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