There is the game-day ritual of suiting up left side to right. There is the tendency to ignore the word “optional” attached to off-day practices. Then there is the videotape, which every 10 days or so Martin Brodeur studies of every puck shot on his goal.
Finally, there are his Devils teammates, who play such a smothering brand of defense it looks as if they are protecting their goalie as much as they are the net.
All are part of the reason Brodeur is closing in on Bernie Parent’s 24-year-old NHL record for most victories in the regular season. Parent won 47 games with the Flyers in the 1973-74 season.
When Brodeur recorded his second consecutive shutout on Saturday night - a 3-0 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes - it gave him 42 victories with 10 games to go.
It is hardly a single-season phenomenon - Brodeur has won more games in his five years in the league, 158, than any other goalie.
The way Brodeur and the Devils are playing - 14-2-4 in the last 20 games - the only obstacle to Brodeur’s breaking the record may be coach Jacques Lemaire’s desire to rest his goalie for the playoffs.
The 25-year-old Brodeur doesn’t want the days off. Like Lemaire, he wants to win a second Stanley Cup. “But I want to play every game,” he said. “Until I don’t have a shot at it” - Parent’s record - “I want to try to catch it. It’s not my decision, but I’m not tired. I haven’t been tired in the five years I’ve been here.”
Even Lemaire appears to be softening in his resolve to sit Brodeur. With the backup goalie, Mike Dunham, still recovering from a groin injury, Lemaire has had little choice but to play Brodeur. “He says he isn’t tired, but I’d like to give him some rest,” Lemaire said with a shrug.
Yzerman hits milestone
Steve Yzerman scored two goals to top 1,400 career points and also moved into 12th place on the NHL career goal list Sunday as the Detroit Red Wings beat Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres 4-2.
Yzerman became the 13th player in NHL history to reach 1,400 points when his long shot deflected off Buffalo defenseman Bob Boughner and past Hasek 3:40 into the third.
The goal gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead, then Kris Draper scored at 5:11 to give Detroit a two-goal margin. Yzerman added another goal on a shorthanded breakaway at 11:03.
Yzerman has scored 561 career goals to pass Guy Lafleur on the all-time list.
On the ice
Slumping Greg Adams scored twice in the second period as the Dallas Stars stopped the New Jersey Devils’ four-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory in a matchup of conference leaders in Dallas.
Adams had scored only one goal in his previous 16 games.
New Jersey remained the NHL leader in points with 99, two more than Dallas.
At Chicago, John Vanbiesbrouck made 27 saves in his fourth shutout of the season, and Viktor Kozlov scored twice as the Florida Panthers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0.