Rather quietly and with little fanfare, New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur recorded his NHL career leading 120th shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers last week. The Montreal born goaltender is 60 shutouts ahead of the closest active netminder, Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks.
And even though Luongo has a contract which lasts an eternity, there is little chance of him breaking Brodeur’s record. While the Canucks have made their feelings about unloading Luongo public, there is little doubt the 40 year old Brodeur will eventually end his playing days having worn just one jersey.
Prior to last night’s 4-3 overtime victory by the Montreal Canadiens over New Jersey, there had been many happy homecomings for Brodeur, not having lost in Montreal since March of 2008. The Devils had won eight consecutive games at the Bell Centre, with Brodeur notching a victory in all but one.
Brodeur has dispelled any notions of slowing down with age, leading the Devils to three consecutive wins from the gate, prior to last night’s loss. The low-key netminder would like nothing more than to go out as a Stanley Cup champ, having made it to the Cup Finals last season before succumbing to the Los Angeles Kings.
With 59 seconds remaining in the overtime session of last night’s game, Devils defenseman Andy Greene was called on a holding penalty, taking the Habs Erik Cole to the ice. Maybe in another era, Greene’s play would have been seen as an excellent defensive play, but Cole did a good job of drawing the penalty by using some exaggerated body language.
The Canadiens wasted no time in capitalizing on the man advantage when Habs defenseman Andrei Markov knocked in his fourth goal in four games for the winner. The original shot from the point by Rene Bourqe sailed wide, but Markov pinched in and together with Cole swiped at the puck after it bounced off the rear boards. Cole whiffed on his backhand, but Markov connected on his forehand sending the puck under a sprawling Brodeur.
Habs rookie Brendan Gallagher scored his first goal on a one timer, coming from a slick looking centering feed from the right wing by rookie Alex Galchenyuk.
Montreal’s third goal, scored by Brandon Prust was also assisted by Glachenyuk, who knocked down an errant Devils clearing pass at the blue line and dished it to Prust, who streaked towards the net and swatted the puck past Brodeur.
While Brodeur is in the twilight of his outstanding career, Galchenyuk and Gallagher are just beginning their journeys. As a result of their inspired play, the team has informed both youngsters they will be remaining with the big team for the remainder of the season.
If both rookies succeed in hanging around and excelling just half as long as Brodeur has with one team, they will certainly have successful careers.