Brodeur gets his third chance at the historic victory when the New Jersey Devils host the Islanders (9-6-0) on Friday night.
Brodeur is 38-18-2 with four ties, 10 shutouts and a 2.17 goals-against average against the Islanders. The 38 wins are tied for his most against any opponent (Rangers) while the 10 shutouts are three more than he has versus any team.
He failed in a bid to get No. 500 last Saturday in his first attempt in a 2-1 loss to the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. New York improved to 2-0 against New Jersey (7-9-2) this season.
Brodeur also failed in his second try on Wednesday in the Devils’ 4-2 loss to the Rangers. He recorded 19 saves, but gave up a goal 35 seconds into the first period and two goals in the second en route to his third loss in the last four starts.
Brodeur, the Vezina Trophy winner last season with 48 wins and a 2.18 goals-against average, has fallen to 5-9-1 with a 2.86 GAA this season. Although he is second in career wins to Patrick Roy, who retired with 551 victories, the goaltender is less concerned about accolades than he is about righting the inconsistent Devils.
“Right now we’re a .500 team, win one, lose one. It’s not fun,” Brodeur said. “We had a great opportunity here with the Rangers in town to get over that hump. We just couldn’t do it.
“I just want to win. There’s an emphasis that everyone puts on (500 wins), not me. I don’t prepare differently.”
Keeping Brodeur from the milestone isn’t the only concern for New York, which has dropped the first two games of its four-game road trip.
The Islanders began this stretch after having won four straight—all at home—over a 10-day period. They have had one of the NHL’s lightest schedules, playing the fewest games of all Eastern Conference teams (15) and have been forced to play on back-to-back nights only twice coming into Friday’s game. Now that their schedule is starting to grow more difficult, there’s some concern, however.
Mike Comrie scored his sixth goal of the season to give New York a 1-0 lead in the first period, and Josef Vasicek tied the game with his sixth goal in the second period, but Rick DiPietro gave up the eventual game-winner eight minutes later.
“I thought we had this game tonight, and we kind of let it get away,” Islanders defenseman Bryan Berard said. “I think we just kind of need to forget about this game.”
With Thursday’s loss, New York, which closes the road trip Monday against the Rangers, fell to 2-4-0 away from home.
This is the first time the Islanders will play on consecutive nights since the opening week of the season. They won both games of a home-and-home series against Buffalo on Oct. 5 and 6, then won a home game against the Rangers on Oct. 10 and lost the next day to Toronto on the road.
The Islanders have won four of the last six road games against the Devils, but this is their first visit to the new Prudential Center.
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