Series (Game 1 of 4)

New Jersey leads 3-1

Game 1: Friday, November 15th
Game 2: Saturday, November 16th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 7th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 18th

Canadiens 1

(6-6-0, 16 pts)

Devils 5

(10-4-0, 20 pts)

7:30 PM ET, November 15, 2002

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, New Jersey

1 2 3 T
MTL 1 0 01
NJ 2 2 15

J. Langenbrunner (Devils - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

J. Madden (Devils - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

S. Brylin (Devils - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Devils finally convert power-play chances

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils hope their problems with the power play are behind them.

The Devils' league-worst power play came alive Friday night, converting three of six chances in a 5-1 rout of the Montreal Canadiens.

"For the first time you can say we played well on the power play,'' coach Pat Burns said. "We kept it simple and that's the way we get power-play goals.''

The numbers coming into the game were awful. New Jersey was 5-for-62 with the man advantage for a paltry 8.1 percent.

Jamie Langenbrunner had a second straight two-goal game and Brian Gionta, Sergei Brylin and Patrik Elias also chipped in with goals. Martin Brodeur made 20 saves to improve to 10-4.

Saku Koivu had the lone goal for Montreal, and Jeff Hackett -- pelted with 44 Devils shots -- lost for the first time (4-1-2).

Langenbrunner scored on the power play and while shorthanded in the first period to give the Devils a 2-1 lead.

Langenbrunner, who also had two goals in the Devils' 3-2 win over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Tuesday, got the Devils rolling with the power-play goal at 2:54. With two Canadiens in the penalty box, Brian Rafalski fired a point shot that flew wide of the net and caromed off the end boards to Langenbrunner for an easy score.

"I think we're starting to simplify it and the simplier we are, the better we are,'' Langenbrunner said of the power-play proficiency. "Tonight, it was just getting shots at the net and getting goals that way.''

Koivu pulled Montreal even at 11:13 with a great effort. After taking a pass from Richard Zednik, Koivu slipped past Brylin and Scott Stevens to rifle the puck past Brodeur.

Langenbrunner polished off a 2-on-1 break with Madden for the shorthanded score at 14:11.

New Jersey expanded its lead to 4-1 on second-period goals by Gionta and Brylin.

Elias set up Gionta for a power-play tally at 3:52 as he faked a shot and carried deep into the Montreal zone. He fed a pass from behind the net to Gionta for a simple tap in.

Brylin tipped in Madden's point shot at 11:53 to give New Jersey a three-goal advantage.

Elias closed out the scoring with a power-play goal with 2:01 remaining in the third.

Montreal, unbeaten in its two previous road games, could not hold off the Devils who attacked all night.

"It was embarrasing, the way that we played,'' Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "When we wear the Montreal Canadiens jersey, we should wear it with pride. We're not wearing it with pride right now.''

Game notes

The game marked the homecoming for Randy McKay, who played 760 games with the Devils. McKay was a member of New Jersey's Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1995 and 2000. The Devils traded McKay to Dallas in March in the deal that brought Joe Nieuwendyk and Langenbrunner to New Jersey. McKay signed with Montreal over the summer as a free agent. ... The Devils and Canadiens meet again Saturday night in Montreal. ... Brodeur has started all 14 Devils games. He is closing in on his own club record, set last year, of 19 consecutive starts from the beginning of a season. ... Scott Niedermayer got his 300th career assist on Brylin's second-period goal. ... The Devils' struggling power play had a productive night, converting three of six opportunities. New Jersey entered with the league's worst power play: 5-for-62, 8.1 percent.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press