Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Martin Brodeur is alone at the top.
The 36-year-old netminder notched the 552nd win of his illustrious career on Tuesday to usurp boyhood idol Patrick Roy for the most victories in the history of the NHL.
In front of a raucous crowd at the Prudential Center, the Montreal native made 30 saves to help his New Jersey Devils post a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. When the final seconds ticked off the clock and the horn sounded, a joyous Brodeur leaped into the air and was mobbed by his teammates while the adoring fans displayed their appreciation with a lengthy standing ovation.
"I never thought it was going to be possible," Brodeur said. "But definitely along the way getting closer and closer I knew it was going to happen eventually."
During the on-ice celebration, Brodeur cut out a portion of the net to serve as a memento. After that, he took a victory lap around the ice.
It's been a difficult 2008-09 season for the four-time Vezina Trophy winner as he missed the bulk of the campaign recovering from elbow surgery performed in early November.
Since coming back on February 26, Brodeur has been his usual impenetrable self, posting a sterling record of 8-1-0 with two shutouts.
"My team helped me in a big way," Brodeur added. "I was able to (break the record) in nine games since my comeback (from injury)."
A seven-time 40-win netminder, Brodeur had started at least 70 games in each of his previous nine seasons and is 552-293-22 with 105 ties in 987 career games. He began his career with the Devils in 1991-92 and has never worn another sweater, backstopping New Jersey to three Stanley Cups in an eight- year span (1995-2003).
"It was an exciting night," Brodeur said. "I'm definitely real happy that it's done and over with. It's been chaotic for me the last few days, but it was an awesome night. "It was a great reception from the fans."
Brodeur has his sights set on another milestone that was once believed to be untouchable. With 100 career shutouts, Brodeur is just three shy of the great Terry Sawchuk in that category.