NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Montreal
(Saturday, April 8th)
Final Score: New Jersey 3, Montreal 2
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Scott Gomez tallied a pair of goals and added an assist to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
Brian Gionta had a goal and an assist and Martin Brodeur made 40 saves for the Devils, who have won six straight games.
"It could've gone either way at the end," said Gomez. "We were lucky to get two points out of this one. Anytime he (Brodeur) plays in Montreal it is special. He made some key saves, but he's the best there is."
New Jersey moved two points in front of Montreal for the sixth spot and trail Philadelphia by four points for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Mike Ribeiro and Chris Higgins each netted a goal and Cristobal Huet stopped 26-of-29 shots for the Canadiens, who had an eight-game winning streak snapped.
Montreal is tied with Tampa Bay for the final two Eastern Conference playoff spots and leads Atlanta by six points.
The Devils drew first blood on Gionta's 43rd goal of the season with 2:44 remaining in the opening frame. Gomez fired a shot from the blue line, which was deflected by Richard Matvichuck to Gionta, who fired a turnaround slapper from between the circles.
Meanwhile, less than a minute later the Canadiens had a full two minutes with a two-man advantage. Saku Koivu had a shot at an open net but Brodeur dove across the goal face to stop the disc with his glove. Alex Kovalev was there for the rebound but the puck went wide of the net, and New Jersey killed off the penalty in the beginning of the second period.
"The 5-on-3 at the end of the first, they played it very well," said Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray. "They had the penalty killers working really hard. They didn't give us much. Credit to them, but there was a lot of hockey after that. When you spot that team three goals you're fighting an uphill battle."
The Devils doubled their lead at the 10:15 mark of the middle stanza. Gomez skated the puck down ice and fed a pass to Gionta at the right point. Gionta's wrister was stopped by Huet, but the rebound came right to Gomez with a wide open net.
New Jersey pushed the score to 3-1 with 9:47 to play on Gomez's second goal of the night. Gomez picked up the loose puck off a Mark Streit turnover and deked forehand before tallying the score through the five-hole.
The Habs got on the board just over a minute later. Aaron Downey took a shot from right in front which was redirected by Ribeiro for his 16th goal of the year.
With 12.8 seconds on the clock Montreal pulled within one on Higgins' power- play goal from the left circle. Colin White was called for a tripping penalty six seconds later, and Koivu fired a wrister off the faceoff that was stopped by Brodeur to preserve the win.
Gionta tied Alexander Mogilny for the third most goals in a season by a Devil. He trails John MacLean, who scored 45 in 1990-91, and Pat Verbeek, who tallied 46 in 1987-88...Gionta extended his points streak to a career-best 10 games. He has five assists in the last four games...Montreal was 1-for-6 with the man advantage, while the Devils went scoreless on three attempts.
04/08 22:26:21 ET