Canadiens 2, Devils 1 (F)
Martin Brodeur turned in one of the best of his 23 saves on Maxim Lapierre's rebound attempt early in the third period.
newjerseydevils.com (March 1) –
Struggling to score goals, the Devils hit another bump in the road at the Bell Centre.
Andrei Kostitsyn's power-play goal broke a 1-1 tie at 14:17 of the third period, lifting the Canadiens to a 2-1 win over the Devils in Montreal on Saturday night.
Kostitsyn scored on a wraparound that Martin Brodeur
nearly stopped with the paddle of his goal stick. Instead, the puck carried across the line to send New Jersey to back-to-back regulation losses for the first time in a month.
The goal followed consecutive penalties to Mike Rupp and Jamie Langenbrunner
that handed the Canadiens a two-man advantage for 29 seconds in the final frame. Just six seconds remained on Langenbrunner's minor when the Habs took the 2-1 lead.
The Devils' first regulation loss in eight road games (5-1-2) dropped them to second place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Montreal for the top seed.
New Jersey (37-23-6) maintained a one-point lead on Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division chase, thanks to the Penguins' 5-4 loss in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.
Brian Gionta, who had New Jersey's lone goal, snapped the team's scoreless streak at 133:23 with his tally in the second period.
The right winger is the only Devil to have scored in the last three contests as the New Jersey offense continued its slide. The last four games, including Friday's shutout loss to Washington, have seen the Devils produce just four goals.
New Jersey's two-game road trip concludes Tuesday in Toronto. The team returns to host Tampa Bay in Newark on Friday night before embarking on a four-game trip beginning next Saturday against the Maple Leafs.
After a scoreless first period, Mark Streit broke through for the first of two power-play goals netted by Montreal's top-ranked attack.
Alexei Kovalev's pass from the right corner deflected up off the stick of Montreal captain Saku Koivu in front of the net. When the puck came down, Streit was at the top of the crease to put home the loose change at 6:11.
Gionta, who scored the only New Jersey goal in last Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Carolina, answered back. Zach Parise
was whistled for hooking 42 seconds into New Jersey's first power play of the night, but Gionta cashed in on the ensuing 4-on-4.
Gionta pulled a Colin White
rebound out of goaltender Carey Price's pads to slip in his 18th of the season at 13:36 of the second. He now has five goals and six assists for 11 points in his last 15 games.
Price posted 31 saves for the Habs, who were outshot 32-25.
Brodeur, who lost for just the second time in his last 11 starts against his hometown team, opened the third period with one of his best sequences of the evening.
The Montreal native made a chest save on a Guillaume Latendresse slapshot from the left circle, and recovered to get a pad on Maxim Lapierre's rebound attempt from the slot just 56 seconds in. The Devils' goaltender finished with 23 saves.
Brodeur and the Devils fell to 1-2 versus Montreal this season, but will have a chance to even their record when the season series concludes March 11 at the Bell Centre.
Paul Martin was out of the lineup with general soreness... Andy Greene
and Vitaly Vishnevski were scratches... Karel Rachunek returned to the lineup after having been scratched from six straight... Bryce Salvador
logged 20:24 of ice time in his second game as a Devil.
|Three star selections