If you have followed the magnificent career of Martin Brodeur -- arguably the greatest goaltender in NHL history -- you knew he wouldn't break his latest NHL record in anything less than spectacular fashion.
No, becoming the NHL's all-time shutout king, as Brodeur did on Monday in leading New Jersey to a 4-0 win, was not enough.
Brodeur shut out the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. On the road. He didn't set the mark against just any group of players. Brodeur stopped seven shots from Evgeni Malkin, a pair from Sidney Crosby -- who also hit a goalpost with 1:42 left in the game -- and five others by former Cup-winning teammate Bill Guerin. The Devils-Penguins showdown was between two teams tied for the best record in the NHL.
And as the great bounce-back Brodeur has done since he was a rookie, he stood on his head after the rare game in which he fell on his face. On Saturday, Brodeur allowed three goals on six shots in Atlanta before being pulled. Two nights later, he stopped all 35 shots from the Penguins to break Terry Sawchuk's record and earn his 104th career shutout.
As he has throughout his year of making history, the 37-year-old Brodeur showed respect for it.
"This record was held for so long by Terry Sawchuk. When you break records and see how long they last, that's pretty cool," said Brodeur, who last month broke Patrick Roy's record for minutes played and last season surpassed Roy's record for most victories. "It's a great honor for me."
In the final minutes, the drama played out with the Penguins pressing the Devils like it was a one-goal game. Crosby and company had too much pride to go quietly into the bad side of the record books.
"I don't usually get nervous, but tonight I was a little nervous (during the third period) and the Penguins kept the play in our zone. It was like a playoff game, with everyone chipping it out and blocking shots. It was a great effort from my teammates. Shutouts, you don't do them by yourself. You do them with everybody."
"When you go to great hockey markets like Pittsburgh, people appreciate it even though I'm not with their team," said Brodeur, whose Devils made their final regular season visit to the Igloo on Monday night. "I think they appreciate what I have accomplished."
Amazing thing about Brodeur -- he's far from finished.