ew Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur became the NHL’s all-time shutout leader tonight, posting the 104th of his career with a 35-save performance in a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena. The shutout sent Brodeur past the legendary Terry Sawchuk, who amassed 103 during a 21-year Hall of Fame career from 1949-50 through 1969-70.
“Terry Sawchuk set a shutout record that stood for more than 45 years and withstood the challenge of more than 500 goaltenders who have played in the National Hockey League since then,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “By surpassing that record tonight, Martin Brodeur reached yet another level of goaltending supremacy. The entire NHL family congratulates him, the Devils and every member of the organization who contributed to this marvelous accomplishment.”
The shutout milestone is the latest in a series for Brodeur, who passed Patrick Roy as the all-time leader for games by a goaltender with his 1,030th career appearance Dec. 18 against Ottawa. Brodeur eclipsed Roy’s League record of 60,235 career minutes on Nov. 27 at Boston and, last season, passed Roy as the League’s regular-season victories leader with his 552nd on Mar. 17 against Chicago.
The 37-year-old Montreal native’s remarkable resume also includes three Stanley Cups, four Vezina Trophies as the League’s outstanding goaltender, four William Jennings Trophies as goaltender on the club allowing the fewest regular-season goals, the 1994 Calder Trophy as the League’s outstanding rookie and nine NHL All-Star Game appearances. He captured an Olympic gold medal in 2002 and a World Cup title in 2004 for Canada in international competition and is widely anticipated to be a Canadian selection for the 2010 Olympic competition in Vancouver this February.
Sawchuk had set the career shutout record on Jan. 18, 1964 when he passed George Hainsworth’s total of 94 in the Detroit Red Wings‘ 2-0 win at Montreal and posted his 103rd and final shutout on Feb. 1, 1970 with the New York Rangers against Pittsburgh. He retired following the 1969-70 season with a 447-330-172 record and 2.51 goals-against average in 971 appearances with Detroit, Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles and the Rangers. His shutout record, among others, was considered unassailable for years after.
Brodeur began the long climb toward the shutout summit with a 17-save performance in a 4-0 victory over Anaheim on Oct. 20, 1993, the first of three he recorded during his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season. He has led the League in shutouts four times, including a career-high 12 in 2006-07, and has recorded at least four in each of the past 13 seasons.
Brodeur is enjoying one of the finest starts in his 16-year NHL career. Appearing in 33 of the Devils’ 35 games, he leads all goaltenders in victories (23-8-1), is tied for third in shutouts (three) and boasts a 2.10 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.