Odd win tops Sawchuk

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur won't forget the night he passed Terry Sawchuk for third place in career goaltending triumphs.

"That's the new NHL" Brodeur said with a smile and shrug after he gave up six goals, yet still captured win No. 448 in a 7-6 shootout over the Maple Leafs. "That isn't the way I planned (to pass Sawchuk), but it's a win.

"We were all laughing at one point. I think one of their goals hit the ice (funny), hit my defenceman and went in. When you go through that, you want to be the guy who makes the difference. But my problem is that I can't score goals."

He gave up five Leafs goals on 11 second-period shots, a few of the cheesy variety that had 15,623 home-opener fans booing him. He wasn't fazed, however, and had them back in his corner with three shootout saves on Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker and Alexei Ponikarovsky, the latter with an outstretched glove.

Still ahead of Brodeur are ex-Leaf Ed Belfour at 457 and Patrick Roy at 551. Brodeur turned 34 this year, but even with the lockout year wasted, he still can catch Roy in the next three to four seasons.

He remains bullish on the Devils' chances of staying competitive in coming seasons, citing the emergence of players such as Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez and Zach Parise.

"Zach's playing a really important role for us," Brodeur said.

"You expect him to do some damage and when you consider we have two young guys in Zach and (rookie) Travis Zajac on our top two lines, it's a good sign for the future of this team."

Parise's father was a Maple Leaf who played on Team Canada '72. This could be the year young Zach makes his own mark.

Parise, a first-round choice from the 2003 draft, has two goals and an assist in the Devils' first three games this season. He lines up at left wing on the first unit with centre Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.

His father Jean-Paul, who played 17 games at left wing for the Leafs in 1967-68 before becoming a household name with the Minnesota North Stars, comes in from Minny about six times a year to see his son.

"My father has played the game, he's coached and he knows what he's doing, but he doesn't (try and influence)," Zach said.


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