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New Jersey Devils defenceman Andy Greene congratulates goalie Martin Brodeur on his 104th career shutout, the most in NHL history, after they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh on Monday. (JASON COHN)
New Jersey Devils defenceman Andy Greene congratulates goalie Martin Brodeur on his 104th career shutout, the most in NHL history, after they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh on Monday. (JASON COHN)

Brodeur breaks shutout record Add to ...

With 104 career shutouts, Martin Brodeur stands above every other goaltender who has ever played.

The New Jersey Devils goalie moved past Terry Sawchuk into first place on the NHL's all-time shutouts list Monday, stopping 35 shots during a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It was the last major record missing from the league's all-time leader in wins, appearances and minutes.

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The shutout mark was long believed to be the most untouchable of goaltending records and stood 39 years after Sawchuk's last season with the New York Rangers.

"This record was held so long by Terry Sawchuk," said Brodeur. "When you do break records and you see how long they've lasted, it's pretty cool. Tying it was pretty amazing in Buffalo a couple weeks ago and now surpassing it, it's a great honour for me to be in that position."

Sawchuk's final shutout came Feb. 1, 1970, in a 6-0 Rangers win - against the Penguins of all teams.

Brodeur tied Sawchuk's record when he outduelled standout goaltender Ryan Miller in a 3-0 win over Buffalo on Dec. 7.

Less than a month later, Brodeur blanked a potent lineup featuring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to add yet another achievement to his stellar career.

Brodeur had to make a couple tough saves in the third period, turning aside chances from Malkin and Crosby on an early power play. Crosby also hit the post with less than two minutes to play.

At that point, the only real point of interest was whether the Penguins would find a way to score. It didn't happen.

"It's pretty incredible what he's done," Crosby said. "He was on tonight and he's been a great goalie for a long time."

Bryce Salvador, Niclas Bergfors, Patrik Elias, Mark Fraser had goals for the league-leading Devils (26-8-1), who won all three visits to Mellon Arena this season.

Pittsburgh, which dropped to 25-11-1, was held off the scoresheet for the third time this season.

Brodeur broke Sawchuk's shutout on his seventh attempt since tying the mark in Buffalo. It was New Jersey's final game before the Christmas break.

The 37-year-old celebrated modestly when the final buzzer sounded, exchanging hugs with a few teammates in the crease. The few remaining fans applauded as the scoreboard recognized the achievement.

Devils veteran Jamie Langenbrunner handed him puck after win.

"He just smiled," said Langenbrunner. "We had the homestand where he wanted to get it and it just didn't happen. I think it's a little bit of relief for him to finally just get passed it. Tonight was one of those special nights when you knew he was seeing the puck well and you knew it was going to take a pretty good play to beat him."

Brodeur is enjoying one of the best seasons in his 16-year NHL career. He leads all goaltenders in victories (23), is tied for third in shutouts (three) and boasts a 2.10 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.

The game itself wasn't filled with very much drama.

Salvador opened the scoring at 4:39 of the first period with a point shot that found its way through traffic and past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Bergfors, Elias and Fraser then scored in the opening 11:03 of the second period, chasing Fleury from the goal in favour of Brent Johnson.

The only piece of good news for the Penguins on this night came when centre Jordan Staal returned to action after taking a puck in the face. He was reaching forward when Devils defenceman Colin White's clearing attempt struck him in the nose.

Staal, who doesn't wear a visor, returned with a full shield in the third period and a nasty looking cut across his nose.

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