The New Jersey Devils defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 from Bell Centre on Tuesday night. The win brings the Devils record to 20-18-10 on the season.
– Montreal scored the first goal of the night on a Max Pacioretty tally.
– The Devils answered back on a goal by Jaromir Jagr, which put him past Mark Messier for the 7th most goals in NHL history with 695 goals scored.
– From there, it was almost all Devils, as Eric Gelinas and Adam Henrique scored second period goals.
– That would be all the Devils would need, as Martin Brodeur rebounded from a poor start to stop 29 of the 30 Montreal shots.
When Max Pacioretty ripped home an early first period goal high glove side on Martin Brodeur on a shot that should have been saved, it looked like it might be a long night for the New Jersey Devils.
How quickly things can change.
Timely goal scoring, stellar defense and an excellent performance by Brodeur paced the Devils to a 4-1 win in what was one of their best all-around road performances of the season.
Needing two goals to get back in it in the third period, the Devils defense suffocated the Canadiens to just six shots. The Devils haven’t had many multiple-goal leads this season, but they played with poise in the third to erase any chance of a comeback.
The defense playing up to par shouldn’t be a surprise, as they’ve done so throughout the season. With timely goal scoring, it makes the job of the defense and goaltending that much easier and there were more than enough goals tonight.
Jaromir Jagr, who scored his first goal in 10 games, bulldozed his way to the net en route to the their first goal of the night. It was the type of play that only someone like Jagr could make. With the game tied up heading into the second, New Jersey exploded for two goals in the second stanza to blow the game wide open.
Eric Gelinas reminded everyone of his offensive potential when he ripped a bomb of a shot past Carey Price to give the Devils the 2-1 lead. Despite his struggles in his own end, his presence alone makes the power play more dangerous. Sure, he’s going to have some moments where he’s in over his head defensively, but there is no one on this roster who can shoot the puck like he does.
Adam Henrique continued to impress, notching his 12th goal of the season. Any thoughts that Henrique was a product of Zach Parise, etc are no longer valid. Henrique is carving a niche for himself in his third NHL season and playing with Ryane Clowe and Michael Ryder has allowed him to excel. The man who scored the most recent historic goal in Devils history might not ever be a 40-goal scorer, but he’s now showing that he has the ability to score 20-plus.
As for Clowe, he’s beginning to show some of the playmaking ability that led to his signing in the offseason. In 10 games since returning from injury, the former Shark and Ranger has eight points (one goal, seven assists). Together, the line of Henrique, Ryder and Clowe has been a welcomed source of offense for a team that has struggled to score.
Moving forward, this team has to be feeling good about where they are. With Patrik Elias and Damien Brunner still to return to the lineup, the Devils not only got to two games over NHL .500 for the first time this season, but reinserted themselves right back into the playoff mix.
As of Tuesday night, the Devils have 50 points and are just two points out of second place in the Metropolitan Division. They also sit just one point out of the wildcard spot, behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers who round out the top-eight with 51 points each.
Next up for the Devils is another tough road test, as the Devils take on the Colorado Avalanche from Denver on Thursday, looking to bring their points streak to five games.
New Jersey Devils vs. Montreal Canadiens – 7:00 pm
Prudential Center – Newark, New Jersey
TV: MSG+ Radio: WFAN 660-AM, 101.9-FM
Dainius Zubrus – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr
Reid Boucher – Patrik Elias – Steve Bernier
Damien Brunner – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
Tim Sestito – Andrei Loktionov – Cam Janssen
Andy Greene – Mark Fayne Anton Volchenkov – Marek Zidlicky Eric Gelinas – Jon Merrill
Goaltender: Cory Schneider
Some thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. The beginning of Reid. Another prized youngster in the Devils’ system makes his way to Newark tonight. Reid Boucher will not only be in uniform; he’ll be on the second line with Patrik Elias and Steve Bernier. As we detailed earlier, Reid has a great balance in linemates; the skill with Elias and the grit and toughness of Bernier. It be silly to expect him to rack up a few points tonight, but seeing his skills and speed displayed first-hand would be a nice start. It’s hard to believe he’ll be a long-term player on the big roster this year but it’s always exciting when Devils fans get to open a new toy during the course of the season.
2. Honestly, don’t change much from Monday. The only thing the Devils didn’t do in Monday’s contest was finish their chances. Everything else they did right. They played an extremely strong road period with an 11-5 shot margin. It continued in the second with an 11-4 mark, making it 22-9 for the first 40 minutes. Also, the Devils had 22 shots blocked in a game where they put 30 on net. If they can find the right angles, they can definitely pot a few more goals.
3. Third line juggled again. We finally saw strong games from both Michael Ryder and Damien Brunner on Monday. Now they have a new center man with Adam Henrique. It’s very possible Henrique deepens and makes that line more dangerous. It’s also plausible that it could take them a few games to get on the same page. We’ll find out pretty early on which of the two it is.
Prediction: Devils 3, Canadiens 1
Let’s completely flip the script. I’ll say the Canadiens dictate the tempo early on and have the better chances through the first 40 or so, but this time the Devils get the bounces and cash in on the few chances they have. We’ve said it time and time again, Cory Schneider simply does not give up soft goals. He dominates again tonight and the Devils get back to .500 again.
My father, Jim Turner, was the Devils team photographer from 1987-1995. He shared some of his memories of Denis, who would frequent the Meadowlands early on in Martin’s career.
“Denis came to one of the first games that Marty ever played in and Marty introduced me to him and said to take care of him, so I had Denis sit next to me in the photographer’s box that was next to the Devils bench. Denis would always say that he didn’t want to make Martin nervous, so he didn’t bring a camera to the first few games, but I always said that Martin was too cool to ever be nervous,” he said.
Little did they both know that two decades later, Martin would be the considered one of the best goaltenders in NHL history.
“I had taken some pictures of Martin that I had mailed to him and in return he sent me a picture back,” my dad said. “When I opened it up, it was a black and white signed picture of Maurice Richard with the Conn-Smythe trophy. It was his way of saying thank you, and it is something that I still cherish today.”
Today, in the world of speedy digital cameras and well-lit arenas, photography is vastly different than it was when photographers were shooting with available light in poorly lit arenas. Back when the elder Brodeur manned a camera, film had to be developed the next day, and when strobe lights were finally implemented, you weren’t able to just hold the shutter and create multiple images in a row — you had to be much more precise.
That’s what makes the images of Denis Brodeur that much more impressive. In 2006, the Montreal native sold his entire library of over 110,000 images, spanning over 40 years, to the NHL. That move ensures that his work will live on forever.
My father also recalled the kindness of Denis during the Devils Stanley Cup Run in 1995. Of course, as the Montreal team photographer, Denis was part of many cup-winning celebrations, so he knew to soak in the moment.
“Denis made it a point to get me to be involved in the celebration when the Devils won the Eastern Conference and he sat me down with Martin and Prince of Wales trophy and took my camera and took a picture of us with the trophy, that’s a memory that I cherish,” he said. “After they won they won the Stanley Cup, he made it a point that I was in the locker room and he put me over with Martin and we both drank from the Stanley Cup. That was quite a moment.”
That sort of kindness exemplifies the character of the former Team Canada goalie, who won a bronze medal in the 1956 Olympics.
“He was really proud of Martin and Martin was really proud of him. I went to Martin’s apartment to photograph his mask for a project and sitting on his coffee table were some of Denis’s books full of photographs and Martin couldn’t wait to show them to me. He was just as proud of his dad as his dad was of him,” added Turner.
Even though the Devils’ playoff chances are finished for 2013, we can still look back at some great moments in New Jersey’s playoff history.
On April 26…
1997- Martin Brodeur records career playoff shutout No. 5, as the Devils beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 in game five, claiming their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series 4-1.
2003- Jamie Langenbrunner scores the game-winning goal at 2:09 of the first overtime, lifting the Devils to a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in game two of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
2006- Langenbrunner and Patrik Elias each record a goal and an assist, and Brodeur pitches another playoff shutout in New Jersey’s 3-0 win over the New York Rangers in game three of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Madison Square Garden.
2012- Adam Henrique scores at 3:09 of the second overtime to lift the Devils to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers in game seven of New Jersey’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal series in Sunrise, Fla.
As I said on Twitter postgame, this was an impressive win for a lot of reasons. Yes, the Devils probably should’ve played like this at some point during their 10-game slide. No, two more wins like this won’t drastically change how we look at the season. However, there were bright spots in this game that lend themselves toward a positive look for next season and it’s possible missing the playoffs flipped a switch in the psyche of a lot of these players, which is another topic for another day. As for tonight’s game, some thoughts…
Fortitude: At least for me, the most impressive part of tonight’s win came after the Canadiens scored two unanswered, the second of which came including one in the final minute of the second period. We’ve seen the Devils melt down multiple times in that scenario, giving up an early goal in the third and going on to lose in regulation or in extra play. It’s been one of my biggest criticisms of this Devils team, particularly during their recent slide. This team lacked a strong enough mental edge to their game to rebound from “woe is us” moments. Tonight, though, they didn’t need a timeout to correct them and while they struggled to get shots on net in the third, they still kept the Canadiens at bay for long stretches. Also, the Habs came out in the third and tried to bully the Devils, who fought right back. Ilya Kovalchuk, for one, went right at the Canadiens after he got hit from behind. Kovy’s response, along with the the energy he’s played with and the way he drives the train (so to speak), has me wondering if it should be Kovalchuk with the captain’s “C” next season. I know Salvador is respected in the room and a lot of guys like him, but would it kill them to give it to Kovy and have Salvador take an “A?” I think it would be a wise move that would help shape the team’s mindset going into next season. Food for thought.
Martin Brodeur and the Devils host the Canadiens in one of their final games of the season.
Who: Montreal Canadiens at New Jersey Devils When: 7:00 p.m. ET; Pregame show at 6:30 p.m. ET Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ Media:TV – MSG2 (Channel listings); Radio – Bloomberg (1130 AM) Twitter:@cgriffin415 | @SNYDevils
Stats & Notes (via Devils PR)
With Sunday’s loss at the New York Rangers, the Devils were eliminated from playoff contention.
Also Sunday, New Jersey fell to 4-17-6 on the year when allowing the first goal. The Devils are 13-1-4 when scoring first this season.
The Devils out shot the Rangers, 27-22, and have now out shot their opponent in 24 of the past 26 games, including a 184-100 advantage over the past six games.
The Devils closed-out their 10th/final set of back-to-back games this weekend. New Jersey finished 3-5-2 in first games and 3-5-2 in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
Martin Brodeur started his 15th consecutive game Sunday. He is 4-7-4 since returning to the lineup on March 21 at Carolina.
Andrei Loktionov, who was a healthy scratch in the previous two games, scored the Devils only goal Sunday, his eighth of the season. He is second on the team (Patrik Elias, 9) in goal-scoring since making his season debut on February 18.
Ilya Kovalchuk picked up the primary assist in his second game back after missing 11 contests (shoulder).
Peter Harrold also had an assist Sunday and now has points in back-to-back games (2a).