(AP) — Martin Brodeur stands alone among NHL goaltenders.
Brodeur posted his 552nd win and passed childhood idol, Hockey Hall of Famer and fellow American Hockey League graduate 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 NHL career played entirely with the Devils. The Montreal native spent the 1992-93 season in the American Hockey League with the Utica Devils, going a modest 14-13-5 in 32 appearances as a 20-year-old rookie.
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. Sawchuk is yet another AHL graduate, winning the league’s Rookie of the Year award in 1949.
“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, a Calder Cup winner in 1985 with the Sherbrooke Canadiens, 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.
Brodeur wasn’t the only record-setter on the night for New Jersey. Patrik Elias, an AHL All-Star in 1997, became the Devils’ career leading scorer when he recorded his 702nd point with a perfect pass to set up a shorthanded goal by Brian Gionta late in the second period for a 3-0 lead.
With New Jersey, the likable Brodeur has led the Devils to three Stanley Cups and won four Vezina trophies as the NHL’s top goaltender.