Laugh at the gaffe

MIKE ZEISBERGER, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

If anyone is to challenge the late Terry Sawchuk's NHL record of 103 career shutouts, Martin Brodeur is the best bet to do it.

At age 34, the two-time Vezina Trophy winner has plenty of hockey left in his pads to creep closer to Sawchuk's magical mark.

Trailing Sawchuk by 20 entering last night's game against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre, Brodeur seemed well on his way to career shutout No. 84.

But those aspirations fizzled with just 3:37 left in regulation when he whiffed on a Darcy Tucker shot from the blue line that brought the Leafs to within 2-1.

That was as close as the hosts would get, however, as the New Jersey Devils' all-star goalie shut the door en route to claiming first star honours.

"I felt strong, other than having a moment of weakness on that goal," Brodeur said afterward. "I thought he was going to fake the shot and I wasn't holding my stick properly.

"Oh well. At least we had a two-goal lead at the time. The win is the most important thing."

Asked about Sawchuk's mark, Brodeur shrugged his shoulders.

"I think about it only because I get more and more questions about it as it gets closer," he said. "But with the new rules and more wide-open style, it gets more difficult.

"It certainly makes it more difficult for the guys starting out now to get close."

Another record Brodeur is approaching belongs to the great Patrick Roy, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last week.

Roy sits first in career goaltending wins at 551. With last night's win, Brodeur is at 458.

Brodeur is the only goalie to have posted 30-plus wins in 10 consecutive seasons.

"The thing I've been most impressed with is his consistency," Roy said of Brodeur last week. "He plays so many games and always seems to maintain his high level of play."

That once again was the story last night.

Aside from one Darcy Tucker shot, that is.


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