NHL Game Summary – Colorado at New Jersey

Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Sidelined for nearly four months, Martin Brodeur returned to the ice with another incredible performance, logging his 99th career shutout in a 4-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

Brodeur had been out since he tore the distal biceps muscle in his left elbow in a November 1 game against Atlanta, an injury that required surgery. The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer returned in sparkling fashion, stopping 24 shots for his 545th career win, which is six shy of Patrick Roy's NHL record. The 99 shutouts are four short of Terry Sawchuk for most all-time.

A four-time Vezina Trophy winner, Brodeur stopped five shots in the first period, 12 in the second and seven more in the third. Jay Pandolfo took a tripping penalty for New Jersey in the final minute, but Brodeur stood tall to preserve New Jersey's sixth win in eight games.

Scott Clemmensen and Kevin Weekes did an excellent job tending goal while Brodeur was sidelined and helped the Devils overtake first place in the Atlantic Division. With Brodeur's win Thursday, New Jersey moved six points clear of Philadelphia for the top spot.

Travis Zajac and Zach Parise each had a goal and two assists for the Devils, who also got goals from Jamie Langenbrunner and Patrik Elias.

Andrew Raycroft made 28 saves for Colorado, which has lost three in a row after a three-game winning streak.

Langenbrunner scored 4:38 into the game. Zajac raced up the ice with the puck to the slot before dishing to Langenbrunner, who let go a slap shot from the right circle that slid between Raycroft's pads.

Nearly six minutes into the second period it wasn't Brodeur, but Parise who prevented a goal. Wojtek Wolski's shot hit the right post, and Colorado's Brian Willsie was in front ready to stuff in the rebound, but Parise stormed in to sweep the puck away.

Ruslan Salei took a hooking penalty, leading to Elias' 24th goal of the season, this one coming at 8:43 of the second period. Paul Martin intentionally shot the puck from the high slot wide of the net on the left side. The puck caromed in front where Elias backhanded it by a screened Raycroft.

Prior to the goal, Colorado had killed off 18 straight short-handed situations.

It became 3-0 at 8:06 of the third as Parise picked up a loose puck along the right boards, skated through the right circle and fought off Avalanche defenseman Brett Clark before shooting high into the top right corner of the net.

Zajac put the finishing touches on the win with his 17th goal of the season with just 3:13 remaining. The Devils put immense pressure in the Colorado zone before Zajac scored on a rebound to the left of the net.

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