Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Thursday, October 21st
Game 2: Thursday, December 2nd
Game 3: Sunday, February 6th
Game 4: Saturday, April 2nd

Canadiens 5

(16-8-2, 34 pts)

Devils 1

(8-15-2, 18 pts)

Coverage: RDS

7:00 PM ET, December 2, 2010

Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

1 2 3 T
MTL 2 3 05
NJ 0 0 11

L. Eller (Canadiens - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

B. Gionta (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

C. Price (Canadiens - G): Saves: 27, Save Pct.: .964

Canadiens-Devils Preview


The Northeast Division-leading Montreal Canadiens have struggled lately to string together victories. The resurgent New Jersey Devils aren't having that problem at home.

Montreal tries to avoid consecutive losses for the first time in a month Thursday night when the Devils try to win their fifth straight at the Prudential Center.

Since opening 12-5-1, Montreal (15-8-2) has alternated losses and wins in its last seven contests. The Canadiens were well on their way toward ending that trend Wednesday versus Edmonton with a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes, but coach Jacques Martin's club allowed three unanswered goals and fell 4-3 in overtime.

"We started the first period pretty well with a power play goal (by Scott Gomez) but in the second I think we started playing selfish hockey and that's not us," defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who recorded his 600th point in the loss, told the Canadiens' official website. "We're not going to beat anyone if we play selfishly. We'll take the lessons from this game and learn from them and we should be better next game."

Montreal, which has scored two goals in losing its last two road games, will face a Devils club that's won three of four overall and four in a row at home after opening 0-5-2 at the Prudential Center.

"It was a good week for us," coach John MacLean said following Saturday's 2-1 shootout victory over Philadelphia. "We need to look that we got six of eight points. Going into next week, if we keep doing that, we'll be in good shape."

All-time wins and shutout leader Martin Brodeur likely won't return until next week due to a bruised elbow, but the Devils (8-14-2) have fared well with backup Johan Hedberg in net.

The first-year Devil has a 0.97 goals-against average with a shutout while starting each of the last four games.

"I think it's a team thing for me," said Hedberg, 2-6-1 with a tie and a 2.84 GAA in 10 starts against Montreal. "We started something good a few games ago. It's put the goaltender in a different position. We're way more sound. That's the way we've got to play."

Hedberg's stellar play has been key for the Devils, who are averaging a league-low 1.8 goals.

New Jersey could receive a boost on their first line with the likely return of captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who has missed the last eight games with a neck injury.

Langenbrunner's linemates, Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac, have one goal between them in the last 10 games.

Canadiens captain and former Devil Brian Gionta returns to the Prudential Center for the second time since signing with Montreal last offseason. Gionta had an assist in a 3-1 victory at New Jersey on Jan. 22 that snapped the Canadiens six-game skid in this matchup.

If Gionta's younger brother Stephen gets into the Devils' lineup, it will be the first time the two former Boston College Eagles will face each other.

"If I do happen to get in the lineup, it'll just be a great experience," Stephen Gionta, who made his NHL debut Nov. 5, told the Devils' official website. "... It would just be something special to share with him."

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who made 17 saves in a 3-0 home loss to New Jersey on Oct. 21, is 0-3-1 with a 2.76 GAA in his last four starts versus the Devils.

New Jersey's last five-game home winning streak was from Feb. 12-March 17.