After long layoff, Brodeur bedevils
Marty's back, as good as ever.
Martin Brodeur recorded his 99th career regular-season shutout, making 24 saves in his first game since elbow surgery in early November, as the New Jersey Devils beat the visiting Colorado Avalanche, 4-0, last night.
"It was an exciting night to get out there and perform," Brodeur said. "I was really anxious all day, more nervous that I thought I was going to be."
The shutout was Brodeur's third in 11 games this season and it moved him within four of Terry Sawchuk's regular-season career mark of 103.
Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner, Patrik Elias, and Travis Zajac scored, but the night belonged to Brodeur as he picked up his 545th career win, moving within six of tying Patrick's Roy's NHL record.
The four-time Vezina Trophy winner as hockey's best goalie was greeted by a standing ovation from fans when he stepped on the ice for the pregame warm-up, and they cheered every time he touched the puck, even when he simply directed it to the corner.
Despite missing 50 games after having surgery to repair a torn biceps in his left elbow, Brodeur was very sharp.
The Avalanche had their chances. Milan Hejduk forced Brodeur to make a very good pad save with nine minutes left in the first period and he also tested the 15-year veteran with a rebound late in the period.
Brodeur made a sliding save on Ben Guite early in the second period and he got in front of a power-play chance by Wojtek Wolski later in the period.
Wolski would beat Brodeur on a shorthanded chance just minutes later, but the puck hit off iron and bounced away.
Capitals 4, Thrashers 3 - Alexander Semin scored one of host Washington's three power-play goals and assisted on both of the others, including Mike Green's go-ahead goal.
Green's 23d goal - most among NHL defensemen - came off passes from Nicklas Backstrom and Semin and snapped a 2-2 tie 12:25 into the second period.
After Green put Washington ahead, Eric Fehr added an insurance goal to make it 4-2.
Hurricanes 2, Sabres 1 - Jussi Jokinen scored the winning goal in a shootout and Cam Ward made 36 saves as host Carolina moved into a tie with Buffalo in the chase for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Hurricanes won for the fourth time in their last five games.
Panthers 2, Rangers 1 - David Booth and Nathan Horton scored on consecutive shots a minute apart in the third period to rally Florida and spoil New York coach John Tortorella's home debut.
Tortorella replaced the fired Tom Renney Monday and lost Wednesday at Toronto. New York got a point then by getting to a shootout.
Sharks 2, Senators 1 - Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau scored power-play goals 1:18 apart in the second period to lead visiting San Jose over Ottawa.
Blue Jackets 1, Oilers 0 - Raffi Torres scored and Steve Mason stopped 19 shots for his eighth shutout as visiting Columbus prevented Edmonton from moving up from ninth place in the West.
Predators 4, Coyotes 1 - Jason Arnott scored an unassisted goal 54 seconds after Phoenix tied it in the second, and host Nashville won its third straight.
Blues 3, Stars 1 - Chris Mason made 41 saves as visiting St. Louis beat Dallas.
Maple Leafs 5, Islanders 4 - Tim Stapleton's shootout goal in the third round lifted visiting Toronto.