By Tim Panaccio in Newark, N.J.
Marty Brodeur hit the big "4-OH" today.
He has company. Jaromir Jagr turned 40 earlier this season.
Both are members of the famed 1990 draft class. An amazing 10 of the 21 first-round players selected that year have played for the Flyers.
"It's all about your attitude and how much you love doing what you do," Brodeur said of his birthday today which coincides with Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m.ET) against the Flyers.
"It goes for anything you do in life. For me, I happen to play with some younger guys and it's been a lot of fun. I've had a great season with the boys here and we'll try to continue as long as we can."
Jagr smiled when told of Brodeur's birthday.
"Right now we are losing [the series] 2-1," Jagr said. "If we were up 3-0, I would be very proud. Happy birthday."
Here's a wish for the Flyers. A couple of Jagr goals on Marty's big day?
"I wish I could do it," sighed Jagr, who has not been skating well this series.
"I'm 100 per cent, but it looks like we got nothing."
Not Brodeur. He still seems spry in net. Maybe not as quick post-to-post, but he's still leading the series.
"He looks like he's going to turn 30 tomorrow," Ilya Kovalchuk said. "It's nice. Time goes by and he's 40 now. He's one of our leaders and I don't think that's going to stop him from playing in the league for more time."
A lot of the Devils think Marty has a few more years left in him.
"I'm sure he still feels fine," Zach Parise said. "I think we still all trust him and are very confident in him. I don't think that mentality has changed.
"We confident when he starts and we feel confident he's going to bail us out when we have breakdowns. So, it's good to have him back there."
Brodeur has won three Stanley Cups since coming into the league a couple generations ago.
"I didn't even know if I was going to play one game in the NHL let alone playing for so long," said the 20-year veteran. "So, I definitely feel fortunate about everything that's happened to me and to be able to compete at the highest level at my age and, knock on wood, being pretty healthy for most of the ride.
"You never expect things like that. If somebody says, 'Oh yeah, at 18-years-old, I know what I'm going to do.' It just doesn't happen. There's too many things that could go wrong or a different route that you take in your career that could make you have a different ending."
And what's it like playing against Jagr at this age? Really, when was the last time two players age 40, met on the ice in a playoff game?
"I think the fact that he left and played in the KHL for a few years and came back at the high level that he did, that's pretty impressive," Brodeur said of Jagr.
"You get defencemen, you get [Nicklas] Lidstrom, you get a couple guys. Forwards are pretty rare that you get to see them play as long because of the competition of young players, the speed and size of all the new athletes that are coming in.
"It's tougher and tougher to compete against. But you've got to appreciate anybody that's been around for so long and able to stay at a certain level."
This is a huge game for the Flyers, who have been emotionally and physically flat this series. They can't go back to South Philly down 3-1 in the series.
"I think their intensity might pick up," Brodeur said. "That's one of the things. You can't keep a good team down for too long. These guys will respond.
"We expect them to respond as good as they can. It's a big test for them to get back in the series and for us it's going to be a great challenge to try to win this game."
General manager Paul Holmgren said Flyers' shutdown rookie centre Sean Couturier is a "game-time" decision but ... given how well Couturier was skating today, the feeling is he will play without question.
Couturier left Game 3 in the first period after tangling with David Clarkson in the corner boards. RDS and CSNPhilly.com both reported he suffered a skate cut on his right leg.
Others media suggested a sprained right knee. Yet given how well Couturier was skating on Sunday versus how poorly he skated on Saturday, it seems impossible for him to have recovered so quickly from a sprained knee.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Couturier said. Also, he said when the incident occurred with Clarkson it was "scary," which is not how most players would label a knee sprain.
"As a player, you always get ready to play or not," Couturier said. "We'll see tonight whether I'm ready to go."
This is what the Flyers might use for Game 4 based off the weekend's practices and the lines are different from the star of the series:
Scott Hartnell-Danny Briere- Jakub Voracek
James Van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read-Brayden Schenn-Jaromir Jagr
Max Talbot-Sean Couturier-Wellwood
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette would not comment on Couturier or any lineup changes.
Now, the Devils might be making one change, as well. Tim Sestito could replace Ryan Carter in Game 4. Coach Pete DeBoer did not confirm that, either.
Tim Panaccio reports for CSNPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @tpanotchCSN.
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