Devils 2, Canadiens 1 (F/OT)
Clemmensen makes one of his best of the night, stopping Roman Hamrlik Saturday in Montreal.
newjerseydevils.com – Patrik Elias
entered Saturday's game in Montreal needing one overtime winner to set a new league record. But with the puck on his stick and a chance to ice it in OT, the clutch Devil set up Zach Parise
for the clincher.
On a New Jersey power play in the extra session, Elias slid a cross-slot pass to Parise, who buried his team-leading 15th of the season 31 seconds into overtime to seal the Devils' 2-1 victory over the Canadiens at the Bell Center.
If anyone was surprised that Elias elected to pass instead of shoot, it wasn't Parise, who said afterward that he was ready for the puck.
"The last game or the game before we had talked about that, rather than going in tight, to back out a little bit and find that lane," Parise said. "He found me with an unbelievable pass."
Alexei Kovalev's tripping penalty with 27.3 left in regulation carried over into the OT, when Parise connected on a 4-on-3 for the game's only power-play goal. New Jersey was 1-for-4 with the man advantage, and Devils penalty killers were perfect in five chances.
's fourth of the year tied the game in the second period for the Devils (14-8-2), who trailed 1-0 before rallying to notch their seventh win in eight games. Montreal was foiled in its bid for a fourth straight victory.
Without Martin Brodeur
in goal against the Canadiens for the first time since Feb. 1, 1997, the Devils got 25 saves from Scott Clemmensen en route to their third straight win in overtime.
Clemmensen made several excellent stops to weather a one-sided first period and backstop the Devils to a 7-1-0 record since a four-game losing streak.
Brodeur had started each of the last 41 contests between the clubs, and owns a mark of 34-15-5 against his hometown team. Clemmensen, however, made an impressive showing on the road to pick up his sixth win.
"I'm not trying to replace Marty, especially here," Clemmensen said. "It was a tough to come in here and play because [the Canadiens] are a good team and they play well at home and feed off the energy of the crowd. That's why it was tough. I'm not trying to go out there and do what Marty does, I'm just trying to play my game and give our team a chance."
Clemmensen's play earned rave reviews from Parise, who also acknowledged a 29-save effort from Montreal's Carey Price.
"Some of those saves that Clem was making on the cross-ice, backdoor stops were awesome," Parise said. "Price played real well too. There was good goaltending at both ends."
After taking four of five on their road trip, the Devils now return to New Jersey to open a stretch of three games in four nights at Prudential Center, beginning Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
The team is nearing full strength following the recoveries of Brian Rolston
and Bobby Holik. Rolston returned for Thursday's 3-2 OT win at Philadelphia, while Holik came back Saturday after missing 18 games with a broken pinkie.
Brodeur (left elbow) is targeted for a possible return in February or March, and defenseman Andy Greene
has been out of action for 15 games with a broken hand.
The Devils came out of a lopsided first period trailing only 1-0 thanks to some key stops by Clemmensen. Montreal outshot New Jersey by a 13-7 in an opening frame that featured two power plays for each team.
New Jersey dodged a bullet with the game still scoreless. Patrice Brisebois caught iron at 10:55 of the first, with 23 seconds left on an abbreviated Montreal power play.
Two minutes later, Clemmensen went post to post to rob Roman Hamrlik from the bottom of the left circle.
Canadiens rookie Matt D'Agostini put the home team ahead with his third of the season at 15:35. Clemmensen got a glove on Andrei Markov's shot from the left point, but couldn't control as it dropped in front of the net for D'Agostini's tap-in.
Clemmensen produced another gem to keep it a one-goal deficit with 1:55 remaining in the first, robbing Kovalev's backhander from the bottom of the left circle.
Langenbrunner drew the Devils even in the second, as New Jersey carried the play.
The Devils' captain chipped the puck past a Canadiens defender at the Montreal point, and skated up ice with Parise on a 2-on-1 against Josh Gorges. Langenbrunner wound up and blasted a slapshot through Price's pads from the top of the right circle to make it 1-1 at 4:05.
"Down 1-0 in a tough building, and I thought from about the seventh or eighth minute on, we played a real solid game," head coach Brent Sutter said. "We did a lot of good things, and the guys played extremely well from the goaltender on out."
Where Clemmensen fought off the Habs' attack with 12 saves in the first, Price responded in the second. Price stopped Langenbrunner's one-timer from the slot off a Rolston feed at 10:33, then robbed an Elias wrister from the slot with 4:37 remaining.
The Devils dominated the third, outshooting the Canadiens 11-4. Clemmensen was ready when needed, stoning Andrei Kostitsyn's one-timer from the bottom of the right circle with 2:07 left in regulation.
The carryover of Kovalev's penalty gave the Devils 1:32 of power play time to start the extra frame, and Parise's goal improved New Jersey's overtime record to 4-1.
The Devils snapped a two-game losing streak in Montreal, and a three-game losing streak versus the Canadiens overall... Letourneau-Leblond, a Quebec native, played his first NHL game in his home province and skated on a line with Holik and David Clarkson
... Mike Rupp was scratched for the first time this season... Barry Tallackson cleared waivers Saturday was assigned to Lowell (AHL).
|Three star selections