Perfection and only one puck narrowly eluded the NHL's shutout king last night. Martin Brodeur backed up his declaration in Tuesday's Post that he is leaning toward coming back next season.

In the end, the NHL's victory emperor said he was pleased enough with recording win No. 637, the Devils' 5-1 stomping of the Jets in Newark last night.

[The shutout] doesn't matter," Brodeur said. "A win's a win.

"Shutouts are shutouts. I've got plenty of those. We just want to get wins."

This is, however, the latest Brodeur ever has gone in a season without a perfect game. Then again, he waited until November for his first victory this season, and he now stands 8-2-1 in his last 11 decisions.