Rod Pelley

Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Montreal Canadiens

monThroughout the offseason, Running With The Devils will preview this season’s upcoming matchups. The Devils, who finished second in the Eastern Conference last season, will face every team in the NHL at least once next season. Today we take a look at a familiar foe, the Montreal Canadiens.

Continue reading after the jump for the preview!

Carey Price

Canadiens vs. Devils – Historical Data

In 128 matchups, the Devils hold an all-time record of 56-61-10-1 against Montreal. The Devils only average 2.77 goals against the Canadiens, while Montreal lights the lamp an average of 3.20 times a game. Last season, the Devils went 3-1-0 in four games against the Canadiens.

The Devils defeated the Canadiens, 2-1, in the team’s first meeting on December 16, 2009. Travis Moen gave Montreal an early lead with a shorthanded goal in the first period. Ilka Pikkarainen scored his first career NHL goal in the second period to tie the game. Patrik Elias broke the scoreless tie at 17:24 of the third period, scoring the game winning goal for the Devils.

The Devils defeated the Canadiens in overtime, 2-1, to win the second game of the season series. New Jersey took a lead on a goal by Travis Zajac at 4:06 of the first period. But the Devils couldn’t keep Montreal off the scoreboard, as ex-Devil Scott Gomez tied the game in the second period with a powerplay goal. The score would remain that way until overtime, when Zach Parise scored the Devils first overtime goal of the season to give New Jersey the victory.

The Canadiens defeated the Devils, 3-1, at the Prudential Center on January 22. Parise opened the scoring at 5:16 of the first period, but Montreal answered back with a goal from Benoit Pouliot at 16:10. Mathieu Darche broke the tie in the second period, and Michael Cammalleri increased the lead to 3-1.

The Devils won the final game of the series, 4-2, on March 27. Elias struck first for the Devils, giving the team a 1-0 lead with a powerplay goal at 8:11 of the first period. The teams traded goals in the second period, with the Devils holding a 3-2 advantage at the end of the second period. Brian Rolston added an empty-net goal in the third period to clinch the win.

Devils vs. Canadiens – This Season’s Matchup

The Devils and Canadiens will face each other four times this season, with the first game coming on October 21. The team’s last matchup, on April 2, could be a key late-season matchup, possibly helping to determine playoff position in the conference.

We all witnessed the miraculous run the Canadiens made to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The team upset conference powers Washington and Pittsburgh, but lost to the Flyers in five games. But this isn’t the same team as last season. Gone is playoff hero Jaroslov Halak, who was traded to the St. Louis Blues for two forwards. The team also traded Sergei Kostitsyn to Nashville, getting Dustin Boyd and Dan Ellis in return. The team would let Ellis go, leaving them with Carey Price as their number one starter. The Canadiens will bring a solid offensive effort to the ice this season, but the biggest question will remain with their netminders. Can Price, a career underachiever, find his groove and become a successful goalie? That will be key to the Canadiens success this season.

The Devils have traditionally played well against the Canadiens. Despite their all-time head-to-head record, New Jersey seems to have Montreal’s number. The Devils should continue to enjoy success against the Canadiens this season.

Other Important Stats

Parise recorded four points (two goals, two assists) during the season series…Elias and Parise tied for the team lead in goals, with each scoring two against the Canadiens…Gomez tallied three points (one goal, two assists) against his former team…Brian Gionta, another former Devil, recorded one assist in four games.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

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