Brodeur Better Than Ever For Devils

Wednesday, February 28th 2007, 5:59 am
By: News On 6

Martin Brodeur will one day receive the Mark Messier treatment, honored by his former team with a number retirement ceremony in front of a packed house of adoring fans.

That day for Brodeur appears to be years away. In his 13th season, the New Jersey Devils goalie is better than ever.

Brodeur recorded his league-leading and career-best 12th shutout Thursday night, making 31 saves in New Jersey's 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh.

As for Messier, he was given the royal treatment in Edmonton, having his No. 11 jersey retired before the current Oilers were beaten 3-0 by the Phoenix Coyotes.

Messier is No. 2 behind former Oilers teammate Wayne Gretzky on the NHL's career scoring list with 1,887 points. Brodeur is No. 3 on the career shutouts list with 92, and at the rate he's going he'll be No. 1 by early next season. The 34-year-old All-Star is two behind George Hainesworth (94) and 11 behind Terry Sawchuk.

It was the second time this season Brodeur blanked Pittsburgh, which lost for the third time in four outings since having a 16-game point streak snapped.

``Brodeur was again phenomenal,'' Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. ``There were three or four times the puck went through him but he just got a little piece of it and we couldn't get that break. You need some breaks and we didn't get the breaks tonight.

In other NHL games, it was Ottawa 4, Carolina 2; Florida 6, Washington 5 in a shootout; N.Y. Rangers 4, Montreal 0; Buffalo 6, Toronto 1; Dallas 2, Tampa Bay 1 in overtime; N.Y. Islanders 6, Philadelphia 5 in overtime; St. Louis 3, Vancouver 1; Detroit 4, Chicago 1; and Colorado 3, Columbus 2.

In Pittsburgh, Jamie Langenbrunner's 21st goal was all Brodeur needed.

``Some games you have a feeling that there's not going to be many goals scored, just by the way the game is played,'' said Brodeur, who has twice as many shutouts as any other goalie. ``Tonight I think you could see right from the get-go, everybody had their opportunities, but there were no goals. We are used to playing games like that and I thought we played well with the lead.''

New Jersey completed February 10-3 and stood pat on trade deadline day.

Edmonton was involved in the day's biggest deal.

The Oilers sent leading-scorer Ryan Smyth, a free agent after this season, to the Islanders for first-round picks Robert Nilsson (2003) and Ryan O'Marra (2005), along with a first-round choice in this year's draft.

Edmonton could've used Smyth against the Coyotes.

The Oilers, playing in vintage orange and blue jerseys from the team's 1980 Stanley Cup years, mustered just two shots in the first period.

Edmonton fans booed the home team off the ice after each period.

``Absolutely we deserved it,'' Oilers captain Jason Smith said. ``We didn't come with the work ethic that we need.''

Angry fans chanted ``Smytty! Smytty! Smytty!''

``Let's go Islanders!'' shouted another.

That was after they shook Rexall Place with cheers for Messier, who led the Oilers to five Stanley Cups.

``One of the reasons that made it so special to play here is that I was born and raised here,'' he said to the crowd. ``To be honored in this way, standing down here, is a humbling experience.''

Former teammates _ including Gretzky, the coach of the Coyotes _ friends and family joined Messier on the ice for the roughly 40-minute ceremony. The New York Rangers threw a similar party for him last season. He led New York to a Stanley Cup in 1994.

All the positive energy Messier brought to the building wasn't enough to help the Oilers beat the Coyotes or make their fans forget that the team had just traded its best player.

``It's been a pretty crazy day,'' Oilers forward Fernando Pisani said.

Senators 4, Hurricanes 2

At Raleigh, N.C., Wade Redden scored the go-ahead goal with 4:48 left for Ottawa.

Dany Heatley and Anton Volchenkov also scored and Jason Spezza had an empty-net goal and two assists for the Senators, who scored three third-period goals to win their seventh in eight games.

Eric Staal and Josef Vasicek scored 19 seconds apart in the second period.

Rangers 4, Canadiens 0

At New York, Marcel Hossa scored two goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves in his third shutout this season.

Hossa found the net twice in the second period, giving the emerging left winger eight goals in 11 games. He matched his career high with 10 on the season.

The Rangers moved within six points of the Canadiens, who are tied for seventh in the tight race for the playoffs. Montreal had won four of five.

Panthers 6, Capitals 5, SO

At Washington, Olli Jokinen scored three goals, and Florida won its first shootout of the season on goals by Jozef Stumpel and Ville Peltonen.

The Panthers were 0-7 in shootouts and 1-13 in games that extended beyond regulation.

Alex Ovechkin had two goals and two assists for the Capitals, who have lost seven of eight.

Stars 2, Lightning 1, OT

At Tampa, Fla., Ladislav Nagy scored with 3:25 left in overtime to give Dallas a victory.

Jere Lehtinen had the other Dallas goal and Marty Turco made 19 saves. The Stars have won eight straight at Tampa Bay.

Brad Richards scored for the Lightning, who are 17-5-2 over the last 24 games.

Sabres 6, Maple Leafs 1

At Toronto, Jochen Hecht scored twice and had an assist to lead Buffalo to a 6-1 rout.

Jason Pominville, Drew Stafford, Derek Roy and Clarke MacArthur scored for the Eastern Conference-leading Sabres.

Alex Ponikarvosky scored for the Maple Leafs, who have lost four of five.

Islanders 6, Flyers 5, OT

At Uniondale, N.Y., Trent Hunter scored his second goal on a power play with 30.7 seconds left in overtime and New York won after trading for Smyth.

Jason Blake, who the team had considered dealing at the deadline, had a hat trick and an assist for the Islanders. Rick DiPietro stopped 29 shots.

The Flyers came back from a pair of three-goal deficits on two goals by R.J. Umberger and goals by Sami Kapanen, Dimitry Afanasenkov and Simon Gagne.

Red Wings 4, Blackhawks 1

At Chicago, Tomas Holmstrom scored two goals and Dominik Hasek made 24 saves to lead Detroit.

Kyle Calder had a goal and assist in his first game with Detroit, which is 10-2-2 in its last 14 games.

Hasek lost a bid for his seventh shutout with a minute left in the third period when Jeff Hamilton scored.

Avalanche 3, Blue Jackets 2

At Denver, Peter Budaj stopped 21 shots and Colorado Avalanche survived a late scare.

Rick Nash spoiled the shutout bid with his 18th and 19th goals in the final two minutes for Columbus.

Andrew Brunette, Paul Stastny and Mark Rycroft scored for Colorado.

Blues 3, Canucks 1

Doug Weight scored twice in the third period, getting the winner on a breakaway for host St. Louis.

The Blues won their first game since trading away their top two players in the final 48 hours before Tuesday's deadline. Bill Guerin went to San Jose on Tuesday and Keith Tkachuk to Atlanta on Sunday.