- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

MONTREAL (AP) - Martin Brodeur was welcomed home by Montreal and into the NHL record book.

Brodeur tied Patrick Roy’s NHL career regular-season mark of 551 wins when the New Jersey goalie led the Devils to a 3-1 victory over the hometown Canadiens on Saturday night.

Under the watchful eye of his father, former Canadiens team photographer Denis Brodeur, who looked on and took pictures from a front-row seat, Brodeur caught up to the former Montreal goalie he idolized as a child.

The sold-out crowd of 21,273 chanted the name of Montreal’s native son when time ran out, and Brodeur’s father wiped away a tear.

“To look around and see the guys reacting … I finally did it,” Brodeur said. “The only one I knew where he was sitting was my dad. He had a pretty good seat.”

Brodeur was as steady as ever in making 22 saves and tying the record held by the Hockey Hall of Famer, who watched from a suite. Brodeur has earned seven wins in eight straight starts after a 50-game absence caused by the first serious injury of his career.

He will get his first chance at setting the mark Tuesday night at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Brodeur, who was surrounded by his teammates, did a double fist pump and raised his stick to the crowd in appreciation after his 986th regular-season NHL game.

“The recognition from the fans was tremendous and something I will never forget,” he said.

Back in 1986, Brodeur cheered Roy at the Canadiens’ Stanley Cup parade along St. Catherine St. Roy returned the favor Saturday morning by going to see Brodeur.

“He visited me at the hotel before I came over here and he wished me good luck,” Brodeur said Saturday morning. “That was really nice of him. He’s pretty busy with his junior team so for him to take the time, I really appreciate it.”

Patrik Elias had a goal and assist to tie John MacLean’s franchise record of 701 points, and Brian Rolston netted his 300th goal as both New Jersey veterans scored with the man advantage in the first. Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner restored New Jersey’s two-goal lead in the third.

“When we scored the third goal, I thought, ‘All right. This could be it,’” Brodeur said.

Tomas Plekanec scored his 20th goal at 12:29 of the first, the only puck that got past Brodeur. That took away any chance of a shutout. Brodeur has 100 of those, only three behind Terry Sawchuk’s career NHL mark of 103.

Elias recorded his 700th career point with his 28th goal on a two-man advantage 5:27 in. Rolston made it 2-0 at 11:08.

Jaroslav Halak stopped 45 shots for the Canadiens, 1-1-1 in three games since general manager Bob Gainey took over behind the bench after firing head coach Guy Carbonneau on Monday.

Patrice Brisebois appeared in his 1,000th regular season game after he was a healthy scratch for Montreal’s four previous games.

The 36-year-old Brodeur improved to 13-3-2 this season. He has been virtually unstoppable since returning from the first serious injury of his 15-year career, a torn biceps in his left arm that was surgically repaired in November.

He missed 50 games because of the injury, after sitting out only 12 games during his previous 14 seasons, and hasn’t skipped a start since his return.

Brodeur is a four-time winner of the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie and he has captured the Stanley Cup three times with the Devils. One time the title got away was in 2001 when the Devils lost Game 7 of the finals to Roy and the Colorado Avalanche _ a disappointment he recalled as he stood on the edge of history.

He won the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year in 1994 and backstopped New Jersey’s championship teams in 1995, 2000 and 2003.

Notes:@ Drafted 20th overall by New Jersey in 1990, Brodeur won his first NHL game on March 26, 1992, a 24-save effort in a 4-2 win over Boston. He has 293 losses, 105 ties and 22 overtime-shootout losses. … Roy was 551-315-131 in an NHL-record 1,029 regular-season games with Montreal and Colorado. … Brisebois has appeared in 887 games in two stints with Montreal. He played 113 games with Colorado from 2005-07. … The Canadiens wore white retro jerseys honoring the 1945-46 Stanley Cup champions.

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