The netminder Martin Brodeur tied the NHL's all-time shutout record as New Jersey Devils beat Buffalo Sabres 3-0 to move into a tie for top spot in the Atlantic Division on Monday. Goals from Brian Rolston, Travis Zajac and Niclas Bergfors sealed victory, but it was Brodeur who captured the headlines. His 22 saves earned him the 103rd shutout of his illustrious career, equalling the mark set by Hall-of-Famer Terry Sawchuk.
"Right after the second goal I was thinking, 'Well, I've got this chance now'," Brodeur said. "It's a big number. When I look back, and all the numbers of other goalies, it's mind-boggling a little bit. "It's a little bit like what the win record was. But, especially with hockey changing so much, it's going to get harder and harder to get some." The record-tying night was not lost on any of the Devils - except the rookie forward Bergfors, who was wondering what the excitement was all about after the game.
"I told him that Marty set a record, and he said, 'Another record?'." the captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. "It's pretty amazing. It's hard enough to get 100 wins in this league let alone 100 shutouts. Obviously it's pretty special." The win saw the Devils move alongside the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were beaten 3-2 on home ice by the Carolina Hurricanes. Elsewhere, Alex Ovechkin scored twice on his return from a two-game suspension as the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0, with Eric Fehr also on the scoresheet.
"The first period I was just trying to get into the game," Ovechkin said. "I understand I didn't play for two games, so I think my teammates did a great job trying to get the puck to me." "I thought he was a little rusty and he wasn't moving his legs, as most us weren't in the first period," the Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We started moving our legs, we started getting chances to score."
The result extended Washington's lead to 11 points over Southeast Division rivals Atlanta Thrashers, who were beaten 5-2 by Toronto Maple Leafs. Alexei Ponikarovsky scored twice and Lee Stempniak, Matt Stajan and Mikhail Grabovski were also on target for the Canadian side. Philadelphia lost their second game in a row under new coach Peter Laviolette as they were beaten 3-1 in Montreal. "We played two decent periods of getting the puck in deep, grinding on their defence, grinding on their forwards," the Flyers' Chris Pronger said.
* With agencies