The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (1-4-1) face off against the Montreal Canadiens (3-1-1) at the Bell Centre in Montreal. This is the first meeting between the teams this season.
The Last Devils Game: The Devils lost to the Boston Bruins, 4-1, Saturday at the Prudential Center. After a scoreless first period, Dainius Zubrus opened the scoring, giving the Devils a 1-0 lead at 3:45 of the second period. But that would be all the Devils would get, as Boston came roaring back to put the game away. Jordan Caron scored at 5:38 to tie the game at 1-1. Michael Ryder scored the eventual game-winning goal, connecting off a feed from Tyler Seguin to put the Bruins ahead, 2-1. Shawn Thornton increased the lead to 3-1 at 16:43 of the second. Milan Lucic capped the four-goal outburst, scoring at 18:09 to put the Bruins ahead, 4-1. Tim Thomas finished with 31 saves for the win. Martin Brodeur stopped 31 shots in the loss.
The Last Canadiens Game: The Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators, 4-3, Sunday at the Bell Centre. Trailing 3-1 in the second period, the Canadiens scored four straight goals to take the lead. Jeff Halpern began the comeback, netting his second goal at 13:39 of the second period. Andrei Kostitsyn tied the game, 3-3, at 17:29 of the second. Tomas Plekanec played hero, scoring the game-winner at 16:01 of the third period.
The Last Devils – Canadiens Game: The Devils won the final game of the series last season, 4-2, on March 27. Patrik 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.
Last season, the Devils won three of four from the Montreal Canadiens. For a full analysis of the historical matchup between the two teams, click here.
Welcome Home Marty! Brodeur makes his 60th career start against the Canadiens tonight, his most against a non-Atlantic Division opponent. In 30 appearances at Montreal, Broduer is 17-12-1 with a 1.80 goals against average, a .935 save percentage and four shutouts. In his career, Brodeur is 38-16-5 against the Habs, with a 1.78 GAA and eight shutouts. Brodeur admitted yesterday that he hasn’t been sharp to begin the season, but these meetings always seem to bring out the best in the veteran netminder.
Tonight’s Matchup: The Devils took three days to practice, and coach John MacLean put the team to work. They skated hard, practiced game situations and made significant moves throughout the lineup. But captain Jamie Langenbrunner said the positives from practice mean nothing if they don’t translate to a win.
“It depends on how we come out of it,” Langenbrunner said to Tom Gulitti. “We did have a good week of practice where we got the battle and work back in our game, but it’s how we respond on the ice tomorrow night for 60 minutes that counts. No one gives you any points for a practice.”
The Devils couldn’t be walking into a better situation to earn their second win of the season. Despite Montreal’s early success, New Jersey has always played them well, especially in their own building. The Devils are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games at the Bell Centre, and the team holds an overall record of 22-23-4 all time in Montreal. An almost .500 record against a team in their own building is respectable.
One thing New Jersey will have to do is meet the energy and pressure from the Canadiens. The Bell Centre will be loud, and the building will be a sellout. The Devils will need to respond to that energy and attempt to silence the crowd early. With some solid scoring and surprising play from Carey Price, the Canadiens won’t be a cakewalk. But the Devils, with four days to prepare, should be able to handle them in Montreal.
Game time is 7:30 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSG Plus or WFAN 660. Remember to come back to Running With The Devils for our live chat, beginning at 7:15 pm!
Here are tonight’s starting lines, based off of the Devils’ pairings from practice yesterday:
Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Dainius Zubrus
Patrik Elias – Jacob Josefson – Ilya Kovalchuk
Rod Pelley – Jason Arnott – Jamie Langenbrunner
Adam Mair – Tim Sestito – David Clarkson
Henrik Tallinder – Matt Corrente
Matt Taormina – Colin White
Andy Greene – Olivier Magnan-Grenier