New Jersey (24-13-4) at Montreal (23-13-5)

Cloudy Currently: Montreal, QC
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 3:00 pm EST Sun Jan 7, 2007
  • TV: TSN, RDS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Martin Brodeur loves to face his hometown team. He may enjoy opposing the Montreal Canadiens even more now given their current physical state.

Brodeur and the Devils look to continue their recent dominance over the Canadiens on Sunday when the teams meet for the third time this season.

Brodeur, a native of Montreal, has been in net for a pair of wins this season over the Canadiens, stopping 51 of 53 shots. He has won six straight starts against Montreal and is 31-12 with five ties, six shutouts and a 1.77 goals-against-average against them.

The Devils (24-13-4) are 27-6 with six ties and one overtime loss versus the Canadiens in the last 40 meetings.

Brian Gionta scored twice and Brodeur turned aside 33 shots in New Jersey’s 3-2 victory Saturday at Ottawa.

Brodeur admitted his team was looking to get even for an embarrassing 8-1 loss at Ottawa on Oct. 21.

“We thought about it,” said Brodeur, the NHL leader with 24 wins this season. “You try to step up your game when one of those happens. Revenge was definitely on our minds. We beat them in New Jersey, but it was in this building that we wanted to beat them. We didn’t embarrass them, but we won.”

The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won five of six with the only blemish in that span a 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Monday.

One of the keys during New Jersey’s current hot streak has been the play of second-year left wing Zach Parise, who has seven goals and six assists in his last 10 games.

Center Patrik Elias also has been contributing lately for the Devils. An assist Saturday gave him 11 goals and 25 points in his last 18 contests.

Montreal (23-12-5) rallied from a two-goal deficit, but allowed a goal to New York’s Matt Cullen with 6:05 remaining Saturday in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Rangers.

It was the fourth loss in five games for the Canadiens, who were without captain and leading scorer Saku Koivu and rookie right wing Guillaume Latendresse because of a virus that has hit several players.

“We wanted that win. It would have been pretty nice considering how the team feels,” forward Chris Higgins said.

With two regulars out of the lineup, centers Mikhail Grabovski and Maxime Lapierre were recalled from Hamilton of the AHL on Friday. Grabovski made his NHL debut on a line with Alex Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov.

Backup David Aebischer made his first start since Dec. 21, stopping 30 of 34 shots.

Cristobal Huet, who has lost three of his past four games, figures to be back in net Sunday. Huet, though, has lost all four career starts against New Jersey with a 3.06 GAA.

Samsonov has struggled all season with just six goals. That lack of production becomes magnified without Koivu out of the lineup.

Samsonov, a four-time 20-goal scorer, has gone 10 straight games overall without a goal, but has found the back of the net five times in his last seven meetings with New Jersey.

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Sunday, Jan 7