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Devils dominate Sabres, Brodeur ties Sawchuk

December 7, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments

A surprisingly one-sided??beatdown of the??Sabres in Buffalo??became a lot more memorable when the final horn sounded and Martin Brodeur did a fist-pump before??receiving??congratulations from his teammates for stopping all twenty-two Sabre shots and in so doing, recording his 103rd career shutout, tying Terry Sawchuks all-time record.?? As Doc Emrick??would say in another of his little in-game nuggets, it took Sawchuk a couple years between shutouts #102 and #103 and he was even on different teams.?? Fortunately Brodeur didnt take that long to do the same although at times it felt like it since #102 came nearly two months ago against Carolina.?? Ironically, Brodeurs next start (and first chance to make even more history)??should be against the??Hurricanes on Wednesday at the Rock, and the Devils next six games will all be at home.

While Marty was the headliner, tonights game was far from a one-man show as an improving defense allowed only??twelve shots on net in the first two periods against a good Sabres team, and the Devils offense put up three goals within twenty-one minutes against Ryan Miller who??only came into the game with a 1.85 GAA and .936 save percentage.?? Perhaps it was fitting that the record-tying shutout was??such a team effort with a dominant defense.

Of course it wouldnt be a Devils game without another MIA player.?? Tonight it was Mike Mottau, who caught the flu (oh??how I sympathize with ye!).?? Matthew Corrente played??in Mottaus place and logged 9:23 including a confidence-building shift late with Mark Fraser as the team was looking to protect the historic shutout.????Perhaps the best part of the night for the team going forward was that Corrente??was the only player to receive less than ten minutes of icetime tonight.?? Even a previously ineffective fourth line looks a lot better with Illka Pikkaranen and Rod Pelley having a fire lit under them by respective benchings, and the return of forwards Jay Pandolfo and Rob Niedermayer, enabling Jacques Lemaire to spread out minutes more evenly.?? With tonight being the fourth of a seven-game in eleven-day stretch, this team needs every man to be a factor, particularly in the immediate future.

Even without Mottau, the Devils D looks bolstered by the return of Johnny Oduya, who played a team-leading 26:13 in only his second game back and now looks a lot more comfortable than he did early in the season.?? Perhaps he felt pressure to live up to his new contract??? If Oduya can truly play at this level without needing Paul Martin to watch his back, the Devils unheralded D becomes that much more dangerous.?? Andy Greene only played 24:42 tonight, but still managed an assist giving him 15 points in 25 games, numbers not seen by a Devils defenseman since Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski were roaming around the halls of the CAA.

Before??Brodeur could make history however, there was the small matter of winning the game, no easy task playing their fourth game in six nights against a good Sabres team.?? Despite a semi-slow??start, the Devils outshot the Sabres 12-5 in the first period and two late goals got the ball rolling downhill.?? First, a suddenly hot Brian Rolston scored at 17:51 when he poked a loose puck through a crowd and past Miller in front for his tenth goal of the year, with Patrik Elias and Vladimir Zharkov getting the assists on what turned out to be the winning goal.?? Just 67 seconds later, Travis Zajac doubled the Devils lead with his ninth goal of the year,??firing a slap shot??that may have deflected off of Andrej Sekera but definitely went past Miller and stunned the home crowd.????Zach Parise and Colin White would get the assists on Zajacs goal.

For all intents and purposes, the Devils put the game??away with a PP goal??after just 39 seconds of the second period when Nicklas Bergfors fired a screened shot that went past Miller, giving Bergfors his ninth of the season after assists from Jamie Langenbrunner and Greene.?? Interestingly, nine different players registered the points on those three goals.?? With a comfortable margin against a surprisingly flat Sabres team, the rest of the night became about the pursuit of history.?? Brodeur faced few real challenges, perhaps the most daunting was Steve Montadors attempt early in the third period that only a quick glove was able to stop.

As the significance of this game dawned on everyone, Doc went into full storytelling mode late in the game recounting how Marty kept pucks from all of his shutouts but only had 102 1/2 because of a??0-0 tie with Dominik Hasek, where both men kept a piece of the puck.?? Maybe it was too bad in a way that the game wasnt on FSNY but at least Doc himself was there, as was a national audience watching VERSUS.?? To their credit, VERSUS did a good enough job in the wake of the record-tying shutout, interviewing Marty and Doc himself in the postgame.

BoNY Three Stars:

  1. Martin Brodeur (22 saves, record-tying 103rd career SO)
  2. Nicklas Bergfors (PP goal, +1 and 6 SOG in 14:37)
  3. Brian Rolston (goal, +1 and 4 SOG in 14:12)
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  1. Tweets that mention Devils dominate Sabres, Brodeur ties Sawchuk??|??The Battle of New York :: A Tri-State Area Hockey Blog -- Topsy.com on December 7th, 2009 11:57 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Derek Felix, and Derek Felix, , Paul Kreischer. Paul Kreischer said: RT @BattleOfNewYork New blog post: Devils dominate Sabres, Brodeur ties Sawchuk http://bit.ly/5DPU2i [...]

  2. Derek Felix on December 8th, 2009 4:08 am

    That interview was probably cool. Id have liked to seen it. that 0-0 double SHO is still one of the more memorable games. No more thanks to the skill comp.

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