Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NHL ; Holtby Nears Brodeur's Wins Record

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NHL ; Holtby Nears Brodeur's Wins Record

Article excerpt

ARLINGTON, Va. - When Martin Brodeur broke the NHL's single- season wins mark in 2006-07, the New Jersey Devils goaltender was honored that previous record holder Bernie Parent was in attendance. The Hall of Famer sent him a note, and Brodeur had him autograph a replica mask that's still displayed in his home. Nine years later, Brodeur is watching closely as Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby approaches his record. With four games left, Holtby has 47 wins, one shy of Brodeur.

"It's really tough to do, so if he achieves it, I'll be happy for him, Brodeur said. "It'll be quite an accomplishment.

It's even more of an accomplishment considering the variety of factors that have to go right to achieve it. Goalies who have come close to matching Brodeur's mark all say that workload, team success and consistency are necessary ingredients to win even 40-games in a season, let alone 48 or more.

"You need to play a lot of games, you need to be on a good team and you've got to perform, said Brodeur, now assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues. "And he's checking all the boxes.

Holtby can tie the record Tuesday against the New York Islanders and break it Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins or Saturday at St. Louis, when Brodeur may be at the game.

Brodeur played 78 games during his record-breaking season, Parent played 73 for the Stanley Cup-champion Flyers in 1973-74 and Roberto Luongo played 76 when he reached 47 wins with the Vancouver Canucks in 2006-07. Holtby has gotten to this point with impressive efficiency, playing in just 63.

The Alex Ovechkin-led offense is important to the Capitals' success, but so is Holtby, a front-runner for the Vezina Trophy with a 2.17 goals-against average (fourth best in the league) and a .923 save percentage (seventh in the league). Holtby's doing it in just his third full 82-game NHL season at the age of 26.

"It's time to stop referring to him as a young goalie, said Luongo, now the Florida Panthers' starter. "He's here and he's one of the best in the league. I've always thought that he was a great goalie, but obviously this year he's taken it to another level. …

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