Devils try for seventh straight win in Montreal
Saturday, 12.17.2011 / 12:17 PM
DEVILS (17-13-1) AT CANADIENS (13-12-7)
MSG PLUS RADIO:
New Jersey 5-5-0; Montreal 3-3-4
The teams are meeting for the second time this season, and the second Saturday night in a row. The Canadiens came to New Jersey a week ago and left with a 2-1 win.
The Devils have won three in a row and are on a 5-1-0 roll after Friday's 6-3 victory against Dallas at the Prudential Center, but they'll be trying to avenge the one loss in that span as they go for their seventh consecutive win in Montreal.
The best news for the Devils has been the re-emergence of Zach Parise
as a premier player. He and linemates Adam Henrique
and Ilya Kovalchuk
ruined the Stars on Friday -- Parise had a goal and three assists -- including one each on goals by Henrique and Kovalchuk.
After missing most of last season with a knee injury that required surgery, Parise is healthy and confident again.
"I think his timing is coming back," coach Peter DeBoer said. "He's getting to the right places as the puck is getting there, which is what he's good at. Two weeks ago he was there a second early or a second late. I can't explain it, but I know speaking to him he feels like he's back to where he should be and it couldn't come as a better time for us."
Montreal has struggled to win at the Bell Centre, going 5-6-6 at home including a 4-3 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday. The highlight for the full house of 21,273 was seeing 2009 first-rounderLouis LeBlanc score his first NHL goal -- the crowd erupted when the Quebec native score during the second period.
"At times the atmosphere around the team and what the fans create is unparalleled. It's unbelievable to be a part of," forward Eric Cole told the team's website. "With Louis' goal I thought that was something awesome. It was exciting for everyone involved - everyone on the ice was excited for that moment. Just seeing how the fans can really drive the momentum and drive up the atmosphere has been fantastic."
Parise's four-point night against Dallas was his first since Jan. 29, 2010. He has five goals and 16 points in his last 11 games after getting just 11 points in his first 21 games. … Cole has goals in four straight games and leads the Canadiens with 12.
The Devils are playing without defenseman Andy Greene
(broken foot) and forward Josef Jacobsen (broken clavicle). Center Travis Zajac
(Achilles tendon) made his season debut Friday. … Montreal lost forward Travis Moen with a foot injury this week, and is already without captain Brian Gionta (lower body), center Scott Gomez (groin) and top defenseman Andrei Markov (rehab from knee surgery).
If the game goes to a shootout, the Canadiens figure to be in trouble. New Jersey has a League-leading seven wins in the tiebreaker this season, losing only once. Montreal has won just once in six shootouts and have dropped all four at home.
Barring injury, Martin Brodeur
always plays for the Devils when they come to his home town, and Saturday should be no exception. Brodeur has a 7-8-0 record and a 3.09 goals-against average this season -- but he's 5-0-0 in his last five visits to the Bell Centre, allowing just five goals in that span, and 40-18-5 lifetime against the team he grew up rooting for.
"Marty's a great goalie; he's got the most wins, the most shutouts - you just have to say 'Marty Brodeur' and everyone knows what you're talking about," Montreal goaltender Peter Budaj told the team's website when asked about the winningest goaltender in NHL history. "I think it's special for him to come back home and play here, no matter how many times he's done it in the past 20 years. It's a good challenge for us but we were able to beat New Jersey in New Jersey, so hopefully we'll get back on a winning streak starting with tomorrow's game."