Game preview: MTL vs. NJD
DEVILS (11-11-5) @ CANADIENS (15-9-3)
Playing their best hockey of the season, the Canadiens will kick off a home-and-home series against the New Jersey Devils Monday at the Bell Centre
Last time out, the Habs stretched their season-long point streak to six games thanks to a 4-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Max Pacioretty led the way with two goals and an assist, while P.K. Subban and Tomas Plekanec completed the scoring for the home team. Carey Price earned his eleventh win of the year with a 34-save performance, making it seven straight starts without allowing more than two goals for the Habs netminder.
The Devils are also coming off of a victory, having disposed of the Buffalo Sabres 1-0 in overtime on Saturday night. Steve Bernier scored the lone goal of the game while Cory Schneider made 15 saves for his second shutout of the 2013-14 season.
While Schneider was perfect on Saturday, don’t be surprised if Devils coach Peter DeBoer calls upon Martin Brodeur to start the game in nets on Monday. The former Vezina trophy winner may only be 7-6-2 on the year, but he has always excelled playing against his hometown team, as demonstrated by his 44 career wins against the Canadiens.
Like the Canadiens early in the season, the Devils have been hit by the injury bug and are currently without several key contributors. Already missing Ryane Clowe and Bryce Salvador, New Jersey must now do without Stephen Gionta and Adam Larsson, who have both been put on injury reserve in the past week.
The Devils defense will be well-served to keep an eye on the veteran line of Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Daniel Briere. The trio have been giving fits to opposing defenders due to their speed and skill, racking up eight points in their last two games. Meanwhile, the Devils will be counting on 41 year-old Jaromir Jagr, who leads the team with 22 points. The Czech recently scored his 692nd career NHL goal, good enough for eighth all-time.
Michel Therrien’s team will be in search of a fourth straight home win. Victory won’t come easy, as the Devil have won four of their last five on the road. Both teams will meet again on Wednesday, at Newark’s Prudential Center.