Cloquet native Jamie Langenbrunner, captain of the New Jersey Devils, was in on some history Monday night in Buffalo as New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur tied Terry Sawchuk’s NHL mark of 103 career shutouts with a 3-0 victory over Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabers. Former Minnesota Wild player (and Lake Superior State player) Brian Rolston had a goal, former North Dakota star Travis Zajac had a goal and former Wild coach Jacques Lemaire was behind the New Jersey bench. Langbrunner is noted in the Canadian Press story below as explaining the moment to New Jersey rookie Niclas Bergfors, who also had a goal:
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Martin Brodeur realized he had a good chance of catching Terry Sawchuk, and his teammates helped made sure he finished with a shutout.
Brodeur tied Sawchuk’s NHL record with his 103rd shutout, leading the New Jersey Devils to a 3-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
"Right after the second I was thinking, ‘Well, I’ve got this chance now,"’ Brodeur said. "My goal was (get to) nine minutes, then take baby steps towards it."
The approach worked, as Brodeur was rarely tested in making 22 saves to tie Sawchuk, who played from 1949-70. It was Brodeur’s second shutout of the season after he blanked Carolina on Oct. 17.
"It’s a big number," said Brodeur after taking pictures with the historic puck in front of a piece of paper with the number "103" taped behind his locker stall. "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."
The record-tying night wasn’t lost on anybody on the Devils — except for maybe rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, who was wondering what the hoopla was all about after the game.
"I told him that Marty set a record, and he said, ‘Another record?"’ captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. "It’s pretty amazing … it’s hard enough to get 100 wins in this league let alone 100 shutouts. Obviously it’s pretty special."
A power-play goal by Bergfors gave the Devils a 3-0 lead 39 seconds into the second period. Buffalo’s Clarke MacArthur was in the penalty box for holding when Langenbrunner set up Bergfors for a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
It was Lemaire who made Brodeur a No. 1 goalie in 1993, when Lemaire was beginning his first stint with New Jersey, so he was there for the goalie’s very first shutout.
“I saw he was good,” Lemaire recalled. “I saw the potential he had. He was big and very athletic. I thought if we could keep him in front of the net, he’d be great. Because sometimes he wanted to play defense, too.”