He Handed Him the Puck

     Goalie Martin Brodeur set the NHL record for career shutouts Monday night as New Jersey beat Pittsburgh 4-0 in Pittsburgh. When the game was over, Northlander Jamie Langenbrunner of Cloquet  found the game puck and handed it to his record-breaking goalie. Here are some details courtesy of Tuesday’s Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger:

By Colin Stephenson, the Star-Ledger

PITTSBURGH – It began as an appetizing late December showdown between the two best teams in the NHL. It ended with Martin Brodeur showing everybody once again that he has no equal in the goaltending profession.

Brodeur, who last week became the goaltender with the most appearances in NHL history, and who last season became the winningest goaltender in history, put another notch in his records belt Monday night when he became the NHL’s all-time shutout king with a 4-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins at Mellon Arena. The shutout was the 104th of Brodeur’s magnificent career, breaking the record of 103 he had shared with the legendary Terry Sawchuk.

“This record was held for so long,’’ Brodeur said. “When you break records and you see how long they last, it’s pretty cool.’’

Sawchuk’s final shutout came Feb. 1, 1970, and Brodeur tied that mark with a 3-0 win over the Sabres in Buffalo Dec. 7. He made 35 saves against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the high-flying Penguins last night to make the record his own Monday night.

Jamie Langenbrunner, the Devils captain, retrieved the puck after the final horn and presented it to Brodeur.

“What I said when I handed him the puck was it’s been an honor playing with him and it’s fun to be a part of history,’’ Langenbrunner said.

Brodeur admitted that he got a little nervous as the clock started to wind down. He really wanted to get the record and put it behind him so he won’t have to talk about it anymore, he said. He said that in years past, he never worried about shutouts, focusing only on winning the game and not about possibly giving up a late goal with a big lead.

“But definitely, when there’s a lot at stake, you get close to surpassing a record, it becomes a little more nerve-wracking,’’ he said. “I don’t get nervous, but today I was a little nervous. And it kept on being in the zone also. Our players – it was funny, it was like being in a playoff game: they were just chipping the puck out, they were just blocking shots from everywhere, so it was a great effort from my teammates for me to be able to break the record.’’