Home > Game Recap > Game 79: Brodeur Wins 600 As Devils Down Thrashers, 3-0

Game 79: Brodeur Wins 600 As Devils Down Thrashers, 3-0

It seems that every game brings another milestone for New Jersey Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur.

Tonight was no different.

Brodeur won his 600th game, stopping 19 shots to blank the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-0.

Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom goes to the ice as he fights for the puck with David Clarkson during tonight's game. Photo Credit: Gregory Smith/AP Photo

Brodeur’s shutout was the ninth of the season and 110th of his career. It was the goalie’s second consecutive shutout. The team defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-0, Saturday night.

“I knew I had a chance to hit it [600 wins], but the big one was 552 and now everything is gravy, just kind of raise the bar for everybody else,” Brodeur said. “I play a lot of games, so they expect you to win if you want to do well here in New Jersey.”

Dean McAmmond opened the scoring at 15:18 of the first period. McAmmond worked a give and go with Dainius Zubrus, dropping a pass in the right circle and heading toward the net. Zubrus put a backhanded shot on net, and McAmmond tipped it past goalie Johan Hedberg for his seventh goal of the season.

Zach Parise upped the Devils lead to two 51 seconds into the second period. Defenseman Paul Martin fired a shot on net from the point. Parise, stationed at the front of the net, tipped the shot past Hedberg’s glove for his 37th goal of the year.

Travis Zajac increased the lead to three 10 seconds into the period. Zajac won the opening faceoff and sent the puck to Martin Skoula. Skoula’s pass sent Zajac into the Thrasher’s zone on a 2-on-1 with Parise. Zajac took a shot that beat Hedberg through the pads for his 24th goal of the season.

Tonight’s game also marked the first time Ilya Kovalchuk visited Phillips Arena since his trade to the Devils. Kovalchuk and defenseman Anssi Salmela were sent to the Devils for Niclas Bergfors, Johnny Oduya and prospect Patrice Cormier. After the trade, Thrasher’s general manager Don Waddell revealed Kovalchuk declined offers of 12 years, $101 million and seven years, $70 million.

Fans held signs saying “You lie!” and “Kovalbum”. The left-winger was booed on his first shift, and the fans booed him every time he touched the puck.

“It was funny with all the signs,” Brodeur said. “I said to him, ‘People either like you or hate you here.’ He had some, ‘I love you’ and some ‘I hate you.’ I was laughing bit.”

Devils coach Jacques Lemaire could tell Kovalchuk was nervous.

“He was a little nervous. I could sense that,” Lemaire said of Kovalchuk. “That’s why I didn’t start him. It would not have been good for him.”

“Half the fans were booing, half were cheering,” Kovalchuk said. “That’s nice. It happens all the time.”

Kovalchuk failed to record a shot on goal and was held off the scoresheet in the victory.

With the win, the Devils clinched home-ice advantage in the first round. With Pittsburgh’s 6-3 loss to Washington, New Jersey moved into sole possession of the second seed in the Eastern Conference and first in the Atlantic Division.

Atlanta’s loss put an end to their fading playoff hopes. The 10-year old franchise has missed the playoffs nine times.

Game Notes:

Three of McAmmond’s seven goals this season have come against the Atlanta Thrashers…Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond picked up an assist on the first goal. It was only his second point in 25 games this season…Devils’ defenseman Mike Mottau missed the game to rest. Rookie defenseman Mark Fraser played in his place.

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