Cake and candles were last night. That cleared the table so Martin Brodeur can try to celebrate his Big 4-0 today by going up 3-1 tonight.

The NHL's all-time goaltender turns 40 today, still setting records, still the Devils' playoff starter for the NHL record 181th straight game. He has outplayed Flyers counterpart Ilya Bryzgalov for a 2-1 lead in their second round series, and almost all 25-year-olds would love to be as good as he is now.

Brodeur stands 6-3 in these playoffs with one shutout, his record 24th of the postseason. The Flyers have tried tricks that might have worked other years — the sharp-angle shots, the crease-crowding and crashing, But he still is standing, and victory tonight would give the Devils the 3-1 series lead, an advantage they never have blown.