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Saturday, March 1st (All times eastern)

New Jersey Devils (37-22-6) at Montreal Canadiens (35-21-9), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A win last night moved Montreal into first place in the Northeast Division. Tonight, the Canadiens will try to leapfrog New Jersey for the top spot in the Eastern Conference when they host the Devils at the Bell Centre.

Montreal knocked off Buffalo, 6-2, Friday night to move past idle Ottawa in the division. The Canadiens' 79 points are one up on the Senators, and Montreal now trails the Devils by just a point for the best mark in the East. That means a regulation win tonight would give Montreal at least a share of the number one spot, as Pittsburgh also has 79 points and is in Ottawa tonight.

Last night, Tomas Plekanec posted a hat trick and added an assist, matching a career high with four points, to lead Montreal over Buffalo. Carey Price stopped 31-of-33 shots, while Mark Streit, Andrei Kostitsyn and Sergei Kostitsyn each lit the lamp for Montreal, which has won six of its last eight games.

Alex Kovalev collected four assists in the win, as he leads the Canadiens with 29 goals, 38 assists and 67 points this season.

Price, meanwhile, has won both of his starts since Montreal traded Cristobal Huet to Washington on Tuesday, stopping 57-of-60 shots faced in that span to help silence the critics of the Huet trade.

Montreal will aim to improve on its 15-12-5 mark at home this season before hitting the road for four straight, starting in San Jose on Monday.

New Jersey's two-game slide has come at a bad time, even though it directly followed a five-game win streak. After losing to Carolina in overtime on Tuesday night, the Devils were blanked by Washington, 4-0, last night.

New Jersey failed to solve Huet, who stopped all 18 shots faced to post his third shutout of the season in his Capitals debut. Martin Brodeur, on the other hand, allowed four goals on 29 shots for the Devils. Brodeur remains five wins shy of an NHL-record seventh 40-win season.

Zach Parise, who leads New Jersey with 25 goals, 30 assists and 55 points this season, has been held without a point in three straight following a six-game point streak (5 goals, 7 assists).

New Jersey still leads Pittsburgh by just a point for the top spot in the Atlantic Division and plays its next two games on the road, where it is 16-10-5 this season.

Following road tests in Montreal and Toronto the Devils will then host Tampa Bay on Friday before returning home for four in a row.

Montreal halted a nine-game losing streak to New Jersey last time the teams met, as the clubs have split a pair of meetings in Newark this season. The Devils are still 12-3 with a tie in their last 16 clashes with the Canadiens, and have won four straight and six of their last nine trips to Montreal.

03/01 10:27:31 ET


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