NHL Game Summary - Montreal at New Jersey
(Thursday, January 24th)
Final Score: Montreal 4, New Jersey 3
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Bryan Smolinski scored twice, and Chris Higgins' power-play tally with 5:29 left capped a three-goal third period, as the Montreal Canadiens came back to top the Devils, 4-3, ending a 10-game winless skid at New Jersey.
The Canadiens were 0-9-1 in their last 10 at New Jersey, and 1-21-4 in their last 26 entering play Thursday. The comeback win was Montreal's first over the Devils in Jersey since February 5, 2002.
Mike Komisarek had two assists for Montreal, which has won two in a row and six of eight. Saku Koivu also scored and Cristobal Huet stopped 10 shots for Montreal.
Patrik Elias scored twice for the Devils, who have lost three of five. Mike Mottau had two assists, and Jamie Langenbrunner also scored for the Devils. Martin Brodeur turned away 28 shots for New Jersey, which was outshot 32-13.
Trailing 3-1 entering the third period, the Canadiens didn't wait long to cut the deficit to one, as Smolinski deposited a rebound of an Andrei Markov shot into the net just 29 seconds into the stanza.
A controversial goal by Koivu tied the game at 11:54 of the third. Komisarek ripped a shot on net from the top of the zone, and Koivu stuck his stick out and deflected it past Brodeur with a borderline high stick. Official review confirmed the goal, though, and the game was knotted at 3-3.
Higgins capped the comeback with his 16th goal of the season, on the power play. Tic-tac-toe passing from Koivu to Roman Hamrlik to Higgins set up the score, a quick flip just inside the right post, and Montreal led with 5:29 to play.
"The third period was one of our best third periods in the whole season and we were playing with confidence even though we were down by one goal and we got it done," said Koivu.
The Devils couldn't come up with the equalizer, and Montreal held on for its first win at New Jersey in nearly six years.
"Our commitment to win, our commitment to our system, our commitment to playing like you're supposed to play like an individual was brutal," said Devils head coach Brent Sutter.
Elias scored twice early, at 12:18 of the first period on the power play, and at 3:24 of the second period to give the Devils a 2-0 lead. Smolinski answered with his first goal, at 14:12, but Langenbrunner's score put New Jersey ahead by two entering the final 20 minutes.
New Jersey scored twice in the second period despite registering only four shots on net...Montreal has an impressive 17-7-3 record as the visiting club this year, where it has won six of its last seven...Jersey beat the visiting Habs, 4-0, on November 30 in the only other meeting between the clubs this season. The Devils had taken nine straight and 12 of the last 15 in the series.
01/25 01:25:21 ET