NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Montreal |
(Saturday, March 20th)
Final Score: Montreal 3, New Jersey 2
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Michael Ryder recorded a goal and an assist to
lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils at the
Jim Dowd and Alexei Kovalev also scored for the Canadiens, who jumped in to a
tie with New Jersey for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. Montreal
earned three out of a possible four points in the home-and-home with the
Devils after Friday's 1-1 tie. Jan Bulis added two assists in the win.
"I've said a lot these past couple weeks regarding the fact that you learn to
win, and you get used to losing," said Montreal captain Saku Koivu. "But I
think this team is in the process of becoming one [a winning team]. "Hopefully
we can do some damage in the playoffs."
Jose Theodore turned aside 33 shots for his 32nd victory of the season.
Martin Brodeur made 22 shots but failed to pick up his 400th career win as the
Devils saw their three-game unbeaten streak come to an end (2-0-1). John
Madden and Sergei Brylin lit the lamp for New Jersey.
After a scoreless first period in which the Devils had 12 shots to Montreal's
eight, Ryder got his team on the board with his 23rd of the campaign 7:34 into
the second. He skated in from the right boards before unleashing a shot over
the glove of Brodeur and underneath the crossbar.
The Devils registered 20 shots in the first two periods, but Theodore stopped
all of them to keep New Jersey off the board.
Dowd gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead just 2:52 into the third frame but it was
Ryder who did most of the work. Bulis backed the defense in before pulling up
in the right circle. He fed the puck across to Ryder, who slickly stickhandled
away from the poke check of Scott Niedermayer before firing a low shot just
inside the far post. Dowd, camped out in front, apparently tipped it on the
way in, as he got credit for the goal.
With Brian Gionta in the box for tripping, Madden finally broke Theodore 6 1/2
minutes in. Madden tipped the puck away from Sheldon Souray at the point and
streaked down the wing before firing a slapper past the stick side of Theodore
for the shorthanded marker.
Ryder could have made it 3-1 when he had a partial breakaway with around 4 1/2
minutes left, but his shot from the right hash missed the net.
Patrik Elias had a golden opportunity to tie things up less than two minutes
later when a Niedermayer pass sprung him in all alone, but Theodore was there
to turn aside Elias' high shot.
"It was pretty easy," Theodore said of his big save. "[Elias] scored on me in
New Jersey when we lost 2-0 on a breakaway. He tried to beat me with the same
move, and that's not going to happen."
With New Jersey looking to get an extra skater on the ice, Brodeur hesitated
on his way to the bench. Just as he finally made up his mind to skate off, the
Canadiens took possession of the puck and Kovalev scored on an empty netter
with 61 seconds remaining.
But a high-sticking foul on Nicklas Sundstrom gave the Devils one last chance
as he was assessed a double minor for clipping Jamie Langenbrunner with 44
seconds left. Brylin wasted no time, finding the back of the net just eight
ticks later off a feed from Elias with Brodeur pulled once again.
A desperate New Jersey team tried to send it into overtime but could not get
the puck past Theodore for the equalizer, and Kovalev's empty-net tally proved
to be the game-winner.
"It was a pretty big weekend for us," said Souray, who saw his first game
action in Montreal since February 5. "They're the Stanley Cup Champions and it
was a good measuring stick to play them. We battled hard and Jose made a game
saver at the end."
New Jersey has lost three of its last four in Montreal...The Devils were 1-
of-4 on the power play while Montreal was scoreless in two chances...Souray
was in his second game back after missing 17 with a sprained left knee.
03/20 23:58:24 ET