Even the Devils' climb to a home-ice playoff slot for the first time in more than 22 months is trivial compared to the anguish Martin Brodeur has been rising above so completely.

For Brodeur, the constant thread in a run of 14-of-17 first- or second- place Atlantic Division finishes, there's something more urgent, more important, that made his 3-1 triumph over the Canadiens last night even more poignant.

Brodeur won in his hometown, where his father Denis, 81, underwent brain surgery Friday, the night Brodeur beat the Ducks in a shootout at Prudential Center. Brodeur spent Saturday night with his father here.