NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
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
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
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
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