Martin Brodeur has arguably the best netminder resume in the history of the National Hockey League. Entering Friday night, Brodeur had 598 wins (most all-time) and 108 shutouts (also, most all-time).
He was 26 seconds from numbers 599 and 109.
After 65 minutes, 33 shots, 32 saves and three more saves in a shootout, Niemi has 22 career wins.
The questions regarding Niemi’s viability as a postseason goaltender were put to bed on Friday night as the youngster answered the bell against perhaps the best ever in a stunning 2-1 Blackhawks victory. After being outshot all night, in an ironic twist, the game was saved with Niemi on the bench when Kris Versteeg blasted the puck at a Jonathan Toews screen and the puck found its way behind Brodeur. Despite a review of a potential kick from Toews, Versteeg was credited with the tying goal.
Brodeur was good on Friday night, keeping the Hawks first 25 shots out of the net. It was the 26th shot, with 26 seconds left, that got the Blackhawks back into the game and spoiled the night for Brodeur.
The game was the first since the lockout in the entire NHL for two teams to skate 65 minutes without a single penalty being called.
Toews and John Madden combined to win 18 of 25 faceoffs, and Dustin Byfuglien skated 25:38 of quality ice time with Duncan Keith as coach Joel Quenneville appears to have mixed things up enough that the team has responded and broken out of it’s funk with two resounding victories.