NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – Standing on the podium after what might have been his final game of his record-setting, 20-year career with the New Jersey Devils, Martin Brodeur’s eyes welled with tears when he was asked to explain his emotions.
Just 15 minutes earlier, after a season-ending 3-2 win over Boston on Sunday, the soon-to be 42-year goalie stood at center ice and gave a stick salute to the crowd as his teammates stood in front of the bench and tapped their sticks to honor him.
As he was interviewed the sellout crowd chanted: “Thank You Marty! Thank You Marty!”
“It was a little emotional,” said Brodeur, the NHL’s career leader in wins (688) and shutouts (124). “I have spent my life here. All the fans out there know me. They think they know me by my name, and I feel they know me.
“They have been calling my name for 20 years. Every time they stop me and talk to me, they are great. It’s a relationship that an athlete has with people. It was definitely fun, but it was emotional.”
Brodeur is in the final year of his contract and is likely to test the free-agent market now that he has become the backup to Cory Schneider. He clearly indicated he wants more playing time after going 19-14-6 in 39 games.
It is clear that the 28-year-old Schneider is the Devils’ goalie of the future.
“It’s not out of the question that the Devils will be in the running for me to come back,” Brodeur said. “I haven’t talked to Lou (Lamoriello) about what he wants to do with backing up Schneids,” Brodeur said. “Again, if I am mentally ready to do that job, I am going to look for the Devils a little bit.
“Right now I’m keeping everything open. We’ll see what he feels is the best for the organization. It’s not about me anymore. I’m free. He’s not stuck with me anymore.”
Lightning 1, Capitals 0 (SO)
In Washington, Tampa Bay wrapped up home-ice advantage for its first-round playoff series against Montreal by edging the Capitals in a shootout.
Red Wings 3, Blues 0
In St. Louis, Detroit backup goalie Petr Mrazek kept the injury-riddled Blues down heading into the playoffs with his second career shutout.
Hurricanes 6, Flyers 5 (SO)
In Philadelphia, Eric Staal scored twice in regulation and had the only goal in the shootout to lead Carolina over the Flyers in the regular-season finale.
Islanders 4, Sabres 3 (SO)
In Buffalo, Brock Nelson scored with 3:44 left in regulation to force overtime and then netted the decisive shootout goal.
Senators 3, Penguins 2 (SO)
In Pittsburgh, Jason Spezza scored in the shootout to help Ottawa beat the Penguins and finish the season on a five-game winning streak.
Predators 7, Wild 3
In St. Paul, Minnesota, Craig Smith had two goals and two assists for Nashville, which finished the season with a win.
Ducks 3, Avalanche 2
In Anaheim, Nick Bonino scored 1:33 into overtime, and the Ducks finished the best regular season in franchise history with a victory.
Coyotes 2, Stars 1
In Glendale, Arizona, Dave Moss scored late in the third period, and Thomas Greiss stopped 16 shots.
Canucks 5, Flames 1
In Vancover, Daniel Sedin scored twice before leaving on a stretcher after taking a hit from behind.