Martin Brodeur wins third Vezina Trophy as top NHL goaltender

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There doesn't appear to be any rust on those 35-year-old hinges, as he showed in finishing up one of the best seasons of his career this spring. The New Jersey Devils netminder won an NHL-record 48 games, posted a league-best 12 shutouts, had a 2.18 goals-against average and his save percentage was an impressive .922.

The native of Montreal was rewarded with the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender and named to the league's first all-star team during the league's annual awards ceremonies Thursday night.

"It's kind of nice being 35 years old and hanging in there with the young guys," said Brodeur.

Runner-up was Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, who shared Canada's netminding duties with Brodeur during the 2006 Olympics.

"We've become good friends over the years," said Luongo. "We've had the chance to play together a few times with Team Canada.

He's a great goaltender. He probably had one of the best seasons of his career last season."

If he had to lose to anybody, he was glad it was Brodeur, who also took home the Vezina in 2003 and 2004.

"We don't play the same style but I appreciate the talent he displays every night," said Luongo. "Sometimes I wonder how he makes those saves.

"He's not the typical goaltender you see every day."

Brodeur had only slightly better stats than Luongo, who won 47 times, was fourth in save percentage (.921) and sixth in goals-against average (2.29). And it was a close vote among the league's 30 GMs. Brodeur had 122 points to Luongo's 116.

"Hey, I had to fight off Dominik Hasek for many years before winning it and I'm sure Roberto will shake me off at some point and win many Vezina Trophies," said Brodeur.

Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary's Finnish goalie who won the Vezina last year, tied with Swede Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers for third place this time at seven points apiece in voting. Dominik Hasek of Detroit was fourth with five points while Nicklas Backstrom of Minnesota was fifth at four points.

As determined at season's end, Niklas Backstrom and Manny Fernandez of the Minnesota Wild got the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the league-low 191 goals.

Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich, former owners of the Montreal Canadiens, presented the Vezina Trophy to the NHL in 1926-27 in memory of Georges Vezina of the Canadiens, who collapsed during a game on Nov. 28, 1925, and died of tuberculosis a few months later.

Until 1981-1982, the goalies on the teams allowing the fewest number of goals during the regular season were awarded the Vezina Trophy. Since then, the trophy has been awarded to the goalie who is judged to be the best.

Brodeur won the Calder as top rookie in 1994.



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