551 down, 1 to go for Marty

Is there any doubt that when Martin Brodeur next takes the ice, he’s going to become the all-time winningest goaltender in NHL history?

The stats seem to say no doubt whatsoever.

Brodeur’s first crack to pass Patrick Roy with career win No. 552 comes Tuesday night at the Prudential Center where the New Jersey Devils will meet the Chicago Blackhawks – a team the four-time Vezina Trophy winner has handled with ease for nearly a decade.

In eight career games versus the Blackhawks stretching back to December 1999, Brodeur is 7-0-0 with a tie, a shutout and 1.46 goals-against average.

That’s a stark turnaround from the start of his career when he couldn’t buy a ‘W’. In his first six games against the ‘Hawks, Brodeur was 0-2-0 with three ties and a 2.58 GAA.

He probably not yet looking ahead, instead being content with tying the wins mark in his hometown and against the team Roy broke in with and was a star for more than a decade.

"Feels pretty good," Brodeur said after a 22-save effort Saturday night in a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. "When the puck dropped it was fine. Maybe I got butterflies late in the game, but when we scored the third goal I thought, 'OK, maybe this could be it.'

"The game was so tight for so long that I didn't start thinking outside the box. I really wanted to make sure I was on my game."

Roy helped Montreal to Stanley Cup wins in 1986 and 1993, when he won 10 straight overtime games en route to the second of his three Conn Smythe Trophies. Less than two years later, Roy would be dealt to the Colorado Avalanche within days of telling team president Ronald Corey that he was through with the Habs after being torched for nine goals in a 11-1 loss to Detroit.

Now a co-owner and coach of a junior team in Quebec City, Roy watched Brodeur match the record.

"I’m happy to be here tonight and see it happen," Roy said. "Nothing against Montreal—I know Montreal is in the middle of a big race—but I think it’s a great moment in the game and I’m sure Marty is very excited to see it happen in his hometown in front of his family."

And a very classy move by the Canadiens’ fans giving Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, a standing ovation.

He can expect at least one more early next week.

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