New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur's 9 Greatest Moments

Kevin SchlittenhardtCorrespondent IIApril 9, 2017

New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur's 9 Greatest Moments

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    The ageless wonder that is Martin Brodeur has been solidifying his place as the NHL's best goalie for the past 20 years. The full-time New Jersey Devil has conquered the Stanley Cup, the Olympics and the record books. 

    Marty has lived the surreal experience of besting his childhood hero Patrick Roy. Marty continues to set new records for most regular season wins and shutouts. 

    Marty has even notched some "novelty" records—he is the only goalie with a game-winning goal. 

    Last season, in what was his fifth Stanley Cup appearance, the 40-year-old was only two wins away from winning the cup. Marty was combating goalies half his age, showing that age is just a number to the living legend. 

    Having just signed a two-year contract with the New Jersey Devils, Marty has extended his career for at least the next couple of years.

    It will be a sad day when Brodeur retires, but the fans will always have his spectacular career to look back on. 

    Here are nine of Marty's greatest moments.

1991-92: Marty's NHL Debut

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    On March 26, 1992, the New Jersey Devils turned to Martin Brodeur to start; the initial starter Chris Terreri and backup Craig Billington became injured (via the National Post). It was a huge break for the then 19-year-old.

    Marty won his NHL debut against the Boston Bruins (4-2), stopping an impressive 24 of 26 shots.

    This impressive outing, as well as his performance in a playoff game later that year, would bring him a step closer to the lead position—which, once held, he would never relinquish. 

1994: Calder Trophy Winner

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    While 1994 is typically viewed as a heart-breaking year for Martin Brodeur, it definitely had its ups.

    Sure, the Rangers knocked Brodeur and the Devils out of the Eastern Conference finals in Game 7—double-overtime. And yes, the Rangers went on to win the Stanley Cup.

    But Brodeur is one of very few goaltenders to lead a team to the conference finals in their rookie year. Brodeur earned the Calder Trophy for his performance.

    The cup might have barely eluded him his rookie year, but it would not be long until Marty got his shot. 

1995: 1st Cup in 2nd Season

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    With "Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!" ringing in Martin Brodeur's ears, Marty was determined to get what escaped him the year before.

    Despite a shortened and unorthodox season due to a four-month lockout, the Devils stormed through the playoff competition.

    In the first round, Marty swept the Bruins in four games—shutting them out in three of the four (via hockey-reference.com). They proceeded to defeat the Penguins in five and the Flyers in six.

    Shocking everyone was Marty and the Devils' performance in the finals against the heavily favored Red Wings. Much to everyone's—including the Devils'—surprise, the Devils swept Detroit and Marty earned his first taste of silver.

1996-1997: Marty's 1st Goal

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    When a guy has been a goalie for 20-plus years, he is bound to notch a couple of weird records. 

    During the 1996-97 season, in a game where the Devils were up against Montreal (4-2), Brodeur saw the open net across the ice and thought, "Why not?"

    Notorious for being one of the best puck-handling goalies in the game, Brodeur popped the puck into the air and into the Canadiens' goal.

    This ultimately made Brodeur the fourth goalie to score a goal in the history of the NHL.

1999-2000: Second Stanley Cup

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    Only six years from his first cup, Martin Brodeur brought the Devils right back to the finals for a chance at their second. 

    Brodeur and the Devils only gave up six goals as they swept the Panthers in the first round in the playoffs (via hockeydb.com).

    In the second round, the Devils faced the Toronto Maple Leafs. Marty notched two shutouts against the Leafs and beat them in six games.

    The Eastern Conference finals was an all too familiar face-off between the Devils and Atlantic Division rivals the Flyers. Philadelphia took a 3-1 series lead against the Devils and it looked like Marty and the Devils were done for.

    Then Marty turned it on. He gave up one goal in each of the remaining three games of the series—which enabled the Devils to made an enormous comeback.

    The Devils faced the Dallas Stars in the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals. After seven games of battling, Marty and the Devils emerged with their second Stanley Cup.

2002: Led Canada to a Gold Medal

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    In the 1998 Winter Olympics, Martin Brodeur got to live two dreams at once. Marty was chosen to represent his home country of Canada and back up his childhood idol Patrick Roy. 

    Unfortunately, Marty never got a chance to play in the Olympics. Even more unfortunate, was Canada's medal-less fate. 

    In 2002, Marty was chosen yet again to be a backup for Canada; this time behind Curtis Joseph (via Sports Illustrated). However, after Joseph lost Canada's first Olympic game to Sweden, Marty got the nod. 

    Marty went undefeated in every game he played, including the final game against USA—earning the gold for his country.

2002-2003: 3rd Stanley + 1st Vezina

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    The Vezina had eluded Martin Brodeur for almost a decade—despite having won two Stanley Cups, an Olympic gold medal and a couple of Jennings Trophies. 

    In the 2002 season, Marty would finally earn the Vezina Trophy and add a third Stanley Cup to his mantle in the process.

    Marty made the 2002 season one of seven seasons in which he earned 40-plus wins. He had a goals-against average of 2.02 and a save percentage of .914.

2009: Most Career Regular Season Wins and Shutouts

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    In December 2009, Martin Brodeur really made a case for himself as one of the best goaltenders in NHL history. In a 4-0 victory over the Penguins, Marty secured his record-breaking 104th shutout.

    Marty really became the Gretzky of goalies after breaking Patrick Roy's record for most career regular season wins. Marty reached No. 552 after a 3-2 victory against the Blackhawks in May 2009. From the New York Post:

    "I thought it was pretty cool [Saturday] in Montreal, but this topped it. Pretty awesome," Brodeur said. "It's an exciting night, and I'm happy it's done and over with. It's been kind of chaotic for the last few days."

2011-2012 Run for the Cup

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    As stated earlier, last season, Martin Brodeur fell only two games short from winning his fourth Stanley Cup with the Devils. 

    To some, this near-miss might seem more like a failure than a moment worth recalling. But, by looking at Marty in some of these postgame photos, one would think he did win. 

    That is because even as a 40-year-old living legend, Marty has shown that he deserves to be in this league. He is not on the Devils because the franchise is indebted to him, but because he is still that good. 

    Marty's stellar play in the Eastern Conference eliminated current top goaltender and Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist from the third round. 

    Prior to that, Marty shut down another Atlantic Division rival, the Flyers, in the quarterfinals.

    Sadly for Marty, Jonathan Quick and the LA Kings were on a historic run. Marty put up a brilliant effort in the first two games but lost to a couple of unlucky bounces in overtime losses.

    Those bounces could have easily gone Marty's way, and Marty could have been hoisting the cup above his head for the fourth time.

    Knowing he still has that in him at age 40 was a moment of reassurance for the living legend.