TORONTO - Once Martin Brodeur finally got his hands on the Vezina Trophy, he's been reluctant to let it go.
The New Jersey Devils goaltender won the award for the fourth time in the past five seasons on Thursday, edging Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks and Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.
Many thought Brodeur was the NHL's best goalie long before he first won the award in 2003. He's proven those people right.
His four Vezinas is second only to the six won by Dominik Hasek since the award started being voted on by the NHL's 30 general managers in 1982.
Brodeur became the second goalie in NHL history to reach the 500-win mark this season and finished the year with 96 career shutouts - just seven shy of all-time leader Terry Sawchuk.
He reached 40 wins for the third straight year and the seventh time in his career. Brodeur had a 44-27-6 record with a 2.17 goals-against average and four shutouts.
Lundqvist was a finalist for the third straight season after compiling a record of 37-24-10 that was highlighted by 10 shutouts.
The Sharks were one of the league's best teams and had Nabokov in goal for 43 straight games to start the season. He led the NHL in wins with 46 and posted 25 one-goal victories.
Nabokov was a Vezina finalist for the first time.