By John Schweibacher
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Martin Brodeur tied his season-high with 33 saves and recorded the 124th regular-season shutout of his NHL career as the New Jersey Devils beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-0, Saturday night at Prudential Center. Brodeur is now tied with five other goaltenders for the league lead with three shutouts this season.
The shutout was the sixth all time by Brodeur against the Lightning in the regular season (two postseason) and the eighth overall by the Devils against Tampa Bay in club history.
Craig Billington recorded the first New Jersey shutout against the Lightning back on December 18, 1992, at Tampa Bay in the first-ever meeting between the clubs. Scott Stevens and Claude Lemieux scored the Devils’ goals against J.C. Bergeron in the 2-0 win.
Mike Dunham owns the only other shutout for New Jersey other than Brodeur’s six against the Lightning, a 5-0 win back on October 18, 1997, against once and future Devils goalie Corey Schwab.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in Brodeur’s last 17 shutouts that he faced more than 30 shots on goal. The last time Brodeur made more than 30 saves in a shutout was back on January 12, 2010, when he stopped 51 New York Rangers shots in a 1-0 shootout victory at Madison Square Garden.
According to the Player Game Finder at Hockey-Reference.com, here are Brodeur’s highest save totals in regular season shutouts:
• 1/12/10: 1-0 SHO at NY Rangers, 51
• 01/28/99: 2-0 at Boston, 40
• 12/15/01: 2-0 at Ottawa, 39
• 12/23/96: 0-0 OT vs. Buffalo, 37
• 11/06/96: 2-0 at Detroit, 36
• 01/04/08: 3-0 vs. Philadelphia, 36
Elias also notes that Brodeur’s shutout was the 65th of his career in New Jersey (49 at the Meadowlands, 16 at Prudential Center). Brodeur’s home shutout total is the same as the overall shutout total of the active goaltender who ranks second to him in that category — Roberto Luongo (Brodeur 124, Luongo 65).
Pete DeBoer coached his 164th regular-season game as head coach of the New Jersey Devils Saturday night. DeBoer is just the sixth coach in club history to reach that number, currently the equivalent of two full NHL seasons.
Here is how the Devils’ current head coach compares to the other five New Jersey head coaches through their first 164 games behind the Devils’ bench:
• Pat Burns: 89-45-30, .634
• Brent Sutter: 97-56-11, .625
• Larry Robinson: 85-52-27, .600
• Jacques Lemaire: 82-59-23, .570
• Peter DeBoer: 80-62-22, .554
• Doug Carpenter: 53-98-13, .363
Cam Atkinson (two goals, two assists) and Brandon Dubinsky (one goal, three assists) each scored four points in a game for the first time in their NHL careers as they led the Blue Jackets to a 5-4 win against Brodeur and the Devils last Tuesday night in Columbus.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was just the second time in the last 11 seasons that more than one player recorded at least four points against Brodeur in the same game.
The only other instance since the 2002-03 season was in San Jose’s 5-2 home-ice victory against New Jersey on October 27, 2010. Joe Thornton tallied three goals and two assists against Brodeur that night, and Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley each registered one goal and three assists in a 5-2 Sharks win.
There are only two other times that more than one opposing player registered four-or-more points in a single game against Brodeur: Vincent Lecavalier (one goal, three assists) and Zdeno Ciger (three goals and one assist) in a 5-4 overtime win by Tampa Bay at New Jersey on January 15, 2002, and Alexei Zhitnik (one goal, three assists) and Donald Audette (two goals and two assists) for Buffalo in a 5-4 Sabres victory at the Meadowlands back on November 18, 1995.
Former Devils goalie Mike McKenna came off the bench last week to replace an injured Curtis McElhinney in the Blue Jackets’ 4-2 win against the Rangers. McKenna, who had not played an NHL game since December 2, 2010, and Scott Clemmensen of the Panthers are the only two former Devils goaltenders currently in the NHL. The last time two ex-Devils goalies played against one another in am NHL game was back on January 17, 2002, when Mike Dunham and Corey Schwab were between the pipes for Nashville and Toronto. Dunham and the Predators came away with a 3-2 overtime win.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves in his 3-2 win over the Devils in Pittsburgh on Friday night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Fleury is now 8-1-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average in nine home games against the Devils since the Penguins moved to Consol Energy Center in October of 2010. Fleury was much less successful against New Jersey at Pittsburgh’s old home, Mellon Arena, posting a 5-8-3 record and 2.57 GAA in 16 games.
Plus: Good Omen — Damien Brunner ended his scoring slump with a pair of goals in the loss against Columbus, his first since October 26 at Boston, and then scored his first game-winning goal of the season and seventh overall in the victory over Tampa Bay.
Minus: Bad Omen — Cory Schneider could not find the puck at his skates in the crease and Pittsburgh scored 41 seconds into the game in the 3-2 loss, the fastest goal against this season vs. the Devils (previously 3:32 on December 7 at NY Rangers).
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