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Brodeur claims shutout mark with win over Penguins

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - New Jersey Devils netminder Martin Brodeur wrote another personal entry in the NHL record book, claiming the mark for most regular season shutouts on Monday with a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brodeur made 35 saves against Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh to notch his 104th shutout and move past Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk, a record many believed unbeatable.

"This record was held for so long and when you break records and see how long they have lasted it's pretty cool," Brodeur told reporters. "Tying the record was cool and now surpassing, it's a great honor to be in this position.

"I've done a lot of breaking the records on the road and people have appreciated it. It's been great."

Brodeur, who is tipped to be Canada's starting netminder at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, clinched the 104th with the same team he recorded his first on October 20, 1993.

ANOTHER LEVEL

Sawchuk passed George Hainsworth's mark with his 95th on January 18, 1964, and went on to claim his 103rd on February 1, 1970, before retiring with a record many thought would stand the test of time.

"Terry Sawchuk set a shutout record that stood for more than 45 years and withstood the challenge of more than 500 goaltenders who have played in the National Hockey League since then," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement.

"By surpassing that record tonight, Martin Brodeur reached yet another level of goaltending supremacy."

The shutout milestone is just the latest in a record-smashing year for the 37-year-old Montreal native.

Last week, Brodeur passed Patrick Roy as the all-time leader for games by a goaltender with his 1,030th career appearance against Ottawa.

It was also Roy's record Brodeur claimed last March when he set the mark for most regular season wins with 552.

A testament to Brodeur's endurance, the shutout record came against the Penguins (25-11-1), one of the top offenses in the league, and allowed New Jersey (26-8-1) to take first place in the Atlantic Division.

After Bryce Salvador's first period goal, the Devils piled on three more from Niclas Bergfors, Patrik Elias and Mark Fraser in the second period, but Pittsburgh made Brodeur work hard for the record to the end.

He collected 14 saves in the third period and needed two big stops on shots from Sidney Crosby. He snatched another shot out of the air from Evgeni Malkin in the final minute.

"The record will never be broken," said Devils coach and Hall of Fame former player Jacques Lemaire.

"It's a lot harder (to play goaltender) now than it was in our days."

A four-time Vezina Trophy winner and three-time Stanley Cup champion, Brodeur has enjoyed a resurgent year after playing in just 31 games during the 2008-09 campaign due to a bicep injury.

The 16-year NHL veteran has appeared in 33 of the Devils' 35 games, leads all goaltenders in victories (23-8-1), and is tied for third in shutouts with three.

(Editing by Steve Keating/Ian Ransom)