Playing with a Heavy Heart Doesn't Slow Down Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils

By Steve Palumbo

The New Jersey Devils continued their rapid climb up the ranks of the Eastern Conference after a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday at the Bell Centre.

Led by goals from Zach Parise, David Clarkson, Matt Taormina and another stellar performance from Martin Brodeur, New Jersey improved to 8-1-1 since the All-Star break.

Playing with a heavy heart, Brodeur won again in his hometown of Montreal.The 39 year-old is now 19-8-1 there all-time, with five shutouts. The win also improved the Devils netminder to 43-18-5 overall in his career against the Canadiens with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.

After the game Brodeur revealed that his father Denis had recently had brain surgery and he spent Saturday with him while he is still recovering. His illness was the reason Brodeur wasn’t with the Devils on Feb. 8 and 9, but from his play you would never know anything was bothering him.

Brodeur was also mourning the loss of long-time family friend and former Montreal Expo and New York Met, Gary Carter. The Hall of Fame catcher who helped the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series, died of brain cancer last week. Because his father worked for the Expos, Brodeur came to know and become close with several of the Expos players including Carter.

The 81 year-old elder Brodeur was once a long-time photographer for the Canadiens and the now defunct Montreal baseball team.

Montreal paid tribute to the late baseball great by wearing No. 8 jerseys with “Carter” on them in the pre-game skate, and the shirts will be auctioned off for the Gary Carter Foundation.

Despite all the distractions Brodeur persevered again to notch career victory number 646 and improve his overall record to 21-13-2 this season. Brodeur is 9-3-1 with a 1.75 goals-against average in his last 13 starts. You can dismiss those retirement requests because the pre-MB30 Marty in back.

With the win the Devils moved into the number four spot in the East standings and tied them with the Boston Bruins for the second-most points in the conference with 72. If New Jersey can remain one of the top four teams in the East they are guaranteed at least one round of home ice advantage in the playoffs.

Playoff revenue money would go along way towards helping the financially struggling club.

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