NHL Game Summary - Colorado at New Jersey
(Thursday, February 26th)
Final Score: New Jersey 4, Colorado 0
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Sidelined for nearly four months, Martin Brodeur returned to the ice with another incredible performance, logging his 99th career shutout in New Jersey's 4-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Brodeur had been out since he tore the distal biceps muscle in his left elbow in a November 1 game against Atlanta, an injury that required surgery. The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer returned in sparkling fashion, stopping 24 shots for his 545th career win, which is six shy of Patrick Roy's NHL record. The 99 shutouts are four short of Terry Sawchuk for most all-time.
"It was definitely an exciting night to get out there and perform," said Brodeur. "I was really anxious all day, a little nervous, more nervous than I thought I was going to be, especially early in periods. We pulled it off."
A four-time Vezina Trophy winner, Brodeur stopped five shots in the first period, 12 in the second and seven more in the third. Jay Pandolfo took a tripping penalty for New Jersey in the final minute, but Brodeur stood tall to preserve New Jersey's sixth win in eight games.
Scott Clemmensen and Kevin Weekes did an excellent job tending goal while Brodeur was sidelined and helped the Devils overtake first place in the Atlantic Division. With Brodeur's win Thursday, New Jersey moved six points clear of Philadelphia for the top spot.
Travis Zajac and Zach Parise each had a goal and two assists for the Devils, who also got goals from Jamie Langenbrunner and Patrik Elias.
"The way we've been playing all season, we didn't come in tonight changing anything or doing anything differently," said Parise. "We played the same way we've been trying to play all year."
Andrew Raycroft made 28 saves for Colorado, which has lost three in a row after a three-game winning streak.
The Avalanche were disappointed they didn't give Brodeur more of a test.
"He's going to come with a lot of energy, a lot of hype and his team's going to play well around him," said Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote. "I don't think we gave him a good test, that's for sure. I don't think we made it too difficult for him."
Langenbrunner scored 4:38 into the game. Zajac raced up the ice with the puck to the slot before dishing to Langenbrunner, who let go a slap shot from the right circle that slid between Raycroft's pads.
"It was a great game that we played," said Brodeur. "It was nice to get the early goal. It was nice not having too many shots early on. I had a chance to get my feet wet before getting a little work. It was nice."
Nearly six minutes into the second period it wasn't Brodeur, but Parise who prevented a goal. Wojtek Wolski's shot hit the right post, and Colorado's Brian Willsie was in front ready to stuff in the rebound, but Parise stormed in to sweep the puck away.
Ruslan Salei took a hooking penalty, leading to Elias' 24th goal of the season, this one coming at 8:43 of the second period. Paul Martin intentionally shot the puck from the high slot wide of the net on the left side. The puck caromed in front where Elias backhanded it by a screened Raycroft.
Prior to the goal, Colorado had killed off 18 straight short-handed situations.
It became 3-0 at 8:06 of the third as Parise picked up a loose puck along the right boards, skated through the right circle and fought off Avalanche defenseman Brett Clark before shooting high into the top right corner of the net.
Zajac put the finishing touches on the win with his 17th goal of the season with just 3:13 remaining. The Devils put immense pressure in the Colorado zone before Zajac scored on a rebound to the left of the net.
The Avalanche play in New York against the Rangers on Saturday, while New Jersey's next contest is also Saturday, at home vs. Florida...Martin, who missed the previous four games with an upper body injury, had two assists...The Avalanche went 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Devils were 1-of-4...The Avalanche are in the midst of their longest road trip of the season and have gone 1-3 so far on the six-game swing. Colorado is just 11-19-1 as the road club this season.
02/27 00:10:42 ET