Martin Brodeur(notes) is on the brink of setting an NHL record. At the very least, he should be able to extend another one Wednesday night when the New Jersey Devils host the NHL-worst Carolina Hurricanes.
Brodeur tied Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk, who played from 1949-70, for the league record of 103 shutouts when he made 22 saves in a 3-0 win at Buffalo on Tuesday.
“It’s been a lot of years, and that’s what kind of catches my eye more than anything,” said Brodeur, who made his NHL debut in 1992. “So it’s kind of surreal because (Sawchuk’s) not there to see it.
“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.”
Brodeur will likely get a chance to take solo ownership of the shutout record Wednesday, but he’d have to register consecutive shutouts for a seventh time in his career and first since Oct. 26-28, 2006.
Even if Brodeur is unable to set the record against lowly Carolina (7-17-5), he has an ideal chance to extend his wins mark, which has reached 575 behind his league-leading 18 victories this season.
Brodeur, who ranks among the league leaders with a 2.11 goals-against average, is also four appearances shy of tying Patrick Roy for the NHL record for games played by a goalie (1,029).
He climbed to within one of Sawchuk’s record Oct. 17, when he made 26 stops in a 2-0 win over Carolina. It was his seventh shutout against the Hurricanes franchise.
The Devils, winners of three in a row and six of seven, have won four of the last five against the Hurricanes at Prudential Center. New Jersey was eliminated in seven games by Carolina in the opening round of last season’s playoffs.
The Hurricanes went on to reach the Eastern Conference finals but haven’t carried any momentum into this season, owning the fewest points in the league.
They’re looking for a season-high three-game winning streak after scoring the first three goals of a 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh on Tuesday to snap a franchise-record 13-game road skid.
“It’s sad that it’s taken so long.” said left wing Ray Whitney(notes), who saw his goal at 2:26 of the second period hold up as the winner. “It’s something to build on. Certainly we’re not sipping champagne by any means, but it’s a starting point.”
Whitney has been key over the last two games, getting two goals and three assists after registering two assists over the previous eight. He leads the Hurricanes with eight goals and 20 points.