EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens came to New
Jersey and got robbed, at least that's what they are accusing
referee Kerry Fraser of doing to them.
Fraser disallowed a first-period Montreal goal and allowed Joe Nieuwendyk's game-winning, third-period goal to stand even though
Canadiens goaltender Jeff Hackett was knocked down by a Devils
player in a 3-2 New Jersey victory on Tuesday night.
Canadiens coaches and officials screamed at Fraser as he walked
off the ice after the game, and general manager Andre Savard had to
be physically restrained from going into the dressing room seconds
after the game, according to security officials at the Continental
Airlines Arena who asked not to be identified.
When reporters walked past the officials' room to the Canadiens
locker, there were six security guards outside the room. Normally,
there are one or two.
"First of all, we believe we got robbed," Canadiens coach
Michel Therrien said after emerging some 20 minutes after the game.
"There is no doubt about that."
Replays did not show any contact.
Nieuwendyk's second goal of the third period infuriated the
road-weary Canadiens, who saw their winless streak reach seven
games (0-4-1-2), all on the road.
Devils forward Jeff Friesen split two Canadiens in their zone
but the puck slid off his stick and went to the right of the net.
As Hackett played the puck toward then corner, Friesen bumped into
him and knocked him to the ice.
Friesen retrieved the puck and fed Nieuwendyk for a shot into an
Hackett refused to talk to the media after the game.
Friesen denied running the goaltender.
"I wasn't trying to hit him or hurt him," Friesen said. "I
was trying to get the puck. He was trying to shield me. I don't
know what he was doing. He may have felt the bump and tried to draw
The Canadiens felt Friesen deserved one.
"I haven't seen a play like that in a while," former Devil and
current Canadiens Randy McKay said.
Fraser told a pool reporter that a goalie can be bumped when
he's out of his crease and playing the puck.
"There may be a misconception that goalies are protected
everywhere on the ice, that they can't be touched," Fraser said.
"That's a fallacy."
That's something the Canadiens had trouble believing.
Even Martin Brodeur was surprised after stopping 20 shots to
pick up his 20th win of the season.
"If it happened to me I wouldn't be too pleased," Brodeur
Nieuwendyk, who was riding an eight-game goal drought, tied the
game at 2-2 on another bang-bang play at 6:36. Christian Berglund
had the puck along the sideboards in the Montreal end and he threw
a no-look pass in front that Nieuwendyk one-timed past a startled
Hackett, who was outstanding in making 33 saves.
"I have felt better recently," said Nieuwendyk, who now has
499 career goals. "Hopefully tonight will be a good springboard."
Although outshot 27-17 in the first two periods, the Canadiens
took a 2-1 lead into the final period on second-period goals by
Quintal and Hossa.
Hossa, who was recalled from Hamilton on Friday and was playing
in his first game of the season, gave the Canadiens a 2-1 lead at
16:34, putting the rebound of a shot by Andrei Markov into an open
The Devils took the lead minutes later when Elias lifted the
rebound of a wrap-around attempt by Sergei Brylin over Hackett.
Devils defenseman Colin White suffered a charley horse in
the first period and did not play in the final two periods. ...
Devils defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky missed his third straight game
with a viral problem. ... Canadiens C Doug Gilmour (back spasms)
missed his third straight game. ... New Jersey has won two of the
three games with Montreal this season. The Devils are 6-3-1 in
their last 10.