With Martin Brodeur set to have his number lifted to the rafters in New Jersey’s Prudential Center on Tuesday night, let's take a look back at 10 of the greatest moments from his record-breaking career.
10. June 10, 2000: His greatest game
When a guy has played as many high-stakes games as Brodeur, it’s nearly impossible to narrow them down to his single best performance. But as someone who was in the building that night in Dallas, I’d put my money on the 30-save effort that led the Devils to a Stanley Cup-clinching, 2–1 win over the Stars in double OT of Game 6. Coming on the heels of a 1–0 triple OT loss back in New Jersey, this was one that Brodeur was simply not going to let his team lose. He made more stops, and certainly better saves, than he did in this one, but it was the sheer determination in his game that made this one a classic.
9. June 2003: His first Vezina Trophy
After a series of near-misses, including two finishes as runner-up, Brodeur finally earned recognition as the league’s top netminder at age 30. He led the NHL in wins (43), shutouts (9) and appearances (73) as he backstopped the Devils to a division title. He went on to claim three of the next four Vezinas, sealing his reputation as one of the all-time greats.
8. April 17, 1997: Lighting the lamp
With just under a minute remaining in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. Montreal, Brodeur retrieved a dump-in from behind his net and fired the puck 195 feet down the ice into the cage vacated moments earlier by Jocelyn Thibault to seal a 5–2 New Jersey win. The goal was one of three he would be credited with during his career, but the only one on which he personally took the shot.
7. Dec. 15, 2001: His 300th win
It's the personal milestone every goaltender sets his sights on: a 300th win. Just 31 backstops in the history of the game have hit it, including Brodeur who reached the mark with a 2–0 shutout of the Ottawa Senators. At 29 years 223 days, he became the youngest player to get to 300. Amazingly, he went on to win another 300-plus games between the ages of 30 and 39, setting an unofficial mark for most wins by a netminder past the age of 30.
6. April 5, 2007: No. 48
Brodeur began his assault on the game's major records by defeating the Flyers, 3–2. The victory was his 48th of the season, a personal best that topped the single-season mark set by Philadelphia’s Bernie Parent during the 1973-74 season.
5. Dec. 21, 2009: Passing Terry Sawchuk
Brodeur was always quick to credit his teammates for his success, and for good reason. A keeper doesn’t bypass the legendary Terry Sawchuk on his way to to 104 career shutouts without a lot of help along the way. But Brodeur was full value in this one, making 35 saves to secure a 4–0 win against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins. He sealed the deal with a flashy glove save on a low bid by Evgeni Malkin in the final minute of play.
4. June 9, 2003: His third Stanley Cup
Brodeur and the Devils clinched their third Stanley Cup in epic fashion, blanking the gritty Anaheim Ducks, 3–0, in a thrilling Game 7. Brodeur made 24 saves to secure the victory and, in doing so, became just the third goalie to record a shutout in a Game 7 of a Cup Final. It was his seventh shutout of that postseason, setting a new record for a single playoff season. He went on to record a total of 24 playoff shutouts, another record that’s likely to stand the test of time.
3. June 24, 1995: His first Stanley Cup
The fifth-seeded Devils became the lowest-ranked team ever to hoist the Stanley Cup when they completed their sweep of the Red Wings with a 5–2 win in Game 4. Brodeur was brilliant in the Final, allowing just seven goals, and he finished the postseason with a sizzling 1.67 goals-against average.
2. Feb. 24, 2002: Olympic gold
After watching Patrick Roy go wire-to-wire in Nagano, all Brodeur wanted out of the 2002 Salt Lake experience was one chance to step between the pipes, just so he could say he’d played in the Olympics. He got that and then some. After Curtis Joseph melted down in the opener against Sweden, Brodeur took the ball and never let it go. He held Finland and Belarus to a goal each in the first two rounds of the playoffs, then made 31 stops in a 5–2 win over Team USA to seal Canada’s first gold medal in 50 years. His toe save on Brett Hull with Canada clinging to a 2–1 lead will go down as one of the most clutch moments of his career.
1. March 17, 2009: Passing Patrick Roy
This is the one that defines him: the NHL’s all-time wins record. Brodeur made 30 stops, including a last-second kick save on Troy Brouwer, to lead New Jersey past the Blackhawks, 3–2, for his milestone 552nd career victory. He finished his career with 691 wins, a total so astronomical that it borders on the unbreakable. A goalie setting his sights on the mark today would need to record 40 wins in 17 consecutive seasons just to get to within hailing distance. Considering no other goaltender has more than three 40-win seasons on his resumé, the mark looks safe.
GALLERY: Brodeur Through The Years
The numbers game
• Martin Brodeur is the fourth player in Devils franchise history to have his number (30) retired. The others are Scott Stevens (No. 4 in 2006), Ken Daneyko (No. 3 in 2006) and Scott Niedermayer (No. 27 in 2011).
• This is the 50th anniversary of the NHL’s expansion from the Original Six. On Feb. 9, 1966 the league’s Board of Governors awarded franchises to Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
• Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is working on the longest home goals streak (nine straight games) since Mario Lemieux scored in a franchise record 11 consecutive tilts in Pittsburgh. Crosby's seven consecutive games of lighting the lamp anywhere has tied Chicago’s Patrick Kane for the longest such run this season.
• Milan Lucic wonders what the Bruins will do if he drops the gloves in his return to Boston on Tuesday night.
• Can the Rangers afford to trade Keith Yandle with Ryan McDonagh's health up in the air?
• Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has another tough decision to make that will impact the future of his team. Just what he needs, right?
• Bob Hartley isn't happy with his Calgary Flames, and he found a unique way to show them on Monday.
• With a pro decision beckoning, Amanda Kessel's next move will have serious implications for the future of women's pro hockey.
• Gary Bettman's decision on Dennis Wideman's suspension appeal will affect officials across the hockey world.
• Wondering if your tear ducts are operating at peak efficiency? This brief video explaining the special relationship between Matt Duchene and a young cancer patient might clear that up for you.
• And finally, two great things that go great together?: hockey and equestrian.