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Martin Brodeur struggles, ties all-time losing record

Nov 2, 2011, 10:38 PM EDT

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Toronto Maple Leafs v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

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.

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