The Montreal Canadiens continued their win one lose one trend they started on New Year’s Eve with a lousy effort. The New Jersey Devils defeated Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at the Bell Centre tonight.
The Habs opened the scoring when Max Pacioretty cruised into the Devils zone and ripped a snap shot over the glove of Martin Brodeur. Brodeur, playing in his 71st game in Montreal, and having posted excellent numbers here in the past, would shut the door for the rest of the game. Sorta.
The Devils tied it late in the first when Jaromir Jagr, the guy who has scored nearly 700 times in his career, was given plenty of time and space in the Canadiens zone. He worked the puck into the slot and made no mistake in firing the puck threw an enormous crowd in front of Carey Price.
Eric Gelinas scored the eventual game winner early in the second on the power play. With Habs top penalty killer Josh Gorges sitting in the box, Ryane Clowe got the puck to Gelinas right at the blue line and the rookie made no mistake slapping it on net. The shot handcuffed Price and found the back of the net.
Clowe got his second assist of the night for sitting on Price and allowing Adam Henrique to poke a loose puck behind a pinned Price. Allowing the goal was especially frustrating because it appeared the Devils were all over Price all night, and the only goaltender interference call on the night went to Brendan Gallagher.
The Canadiens tried to mount a comeback, and thought they pulled within one midway through the second period. Lars Eller tossed the puck in front of the Devils net where Gallagher was battling a defender. The puck bounced off the pair and found its way into the Devils net. After a lengthy review it was deemed that Gallagher had distinctly kicked the puck into the net. I disagreed vehemently.
Price got a bit of revenge for the crease crashing as he absolutely robbed Michael Ryder of a goal, and Clowe of getting his third point of the night.
As if the controversial goal allowed for the Devils, and the one called back on the Habs was not frustrating enough, the Devils would play a typical New Jersey third period to shut the game down the rest of the way. The teams COMBINED for 8 shots in last 20 minutes, the only one to find the back of the net an empty netter by Dainius Zubrus.
This game was an enormous letdown from the high that was Saturday night’s victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Habs were held to six shots in the third period, and had almost no chances in trying to come back from a two goal deficit.
One positive: this was probably Brodeur’s last game in Montreal, where the soon to be Hall of Famer has played some of his best hockey.
Habs are back in action Thursday night when they head to Ottawa to face the surging Senators.