Toronto Maple Leafs v New Jersey Devils

Martin Brodeur struggles, ties all-time losing record

Martin Brodeur owns a ton of the NHL’s most glamorous goaltending records, but tonight’s humbling 5-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs will put him in a bad place in the record books. The future Hall of Famer joined great retired netminders Curtis Joseph and Gump Worsley with 352 losses, tying him for the all-time mark according to Tom Gulitti.

Really, that’s the funny thing about hyping up goalie wins totals. Things like losses, ties, shootout losses and overtime defeats sort of get lost at sea. Looking a little deeper reveals that even the best athletes face a ton of nights they’d rather forget. For Brodeur, that number extended to 352.* (He probably isn’t crazy about those 82 playoff losses either.)

Those huge numbers are reserved for discussions about his lofty legacy, though. In the present tense, Brodeur is struggling with something he hasn’t dealt with really since his career took off: the threat of being usurped by a backup. Johan Hedberg has been the de facto leader in net for the Devils for much of the last two seasons and tonight’s struggles didn’t exactly squash that developing controversy.

Brodeur allowed five goals on just 23 shots to push his record to 0-2 in three games played this season. It’s unfair to throw the veteran under the bus after one rough night – hey, he made a highlight reel save, at least – but the Devils shouldn’t hand out starts like charity. If Hedberg continues to be the real go-to guy in net, Peter DeBoer doesn’t have much choice but to keep his big name goalie on the bench.

At least it would keep him from taking sole possession of that defeat record for a little longer …

* – Actually, it depends on how you define a disappointing night. His full record is: 625-352-105, with 54 overtime losses.Yup, that makes my brain hurt too.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen