The Devils try to continue their success against the Canadiens when the teams meet Wednesday for the fourth and final time this season.
New Jersey is 20-5-4 at Continental Airlines Arena—the most home wins in the Eastern Conference—as it enters the fifth of a season-long six-game homestand. The Devils (34-16-6), though, are trying to bounce back from a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.
Scott Gomez scored first for New Jersey, which then allowed four unanswered goals and saw its overall four-game winning streak snapped. Gomez has four goals and 11 assists during a six-game point streak against the Canadiens (29-23-6).
“I don’t think we were that bad,” said Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, a Montreal native, who made 23 saves Sunday. “It’s just the bounces didn’t go our way and they went into the net.”
Brodeur has dominated the Canadiens in his career, going 32-12-0 with five ties and a 1.74 goals-against average in 49 career starts - his lowest GAA versus any opponent. He has been even better at home against Montreal, posting a 18-2-0 mark with four ties and a 1.72 GAA.
His play has helped the Devils go 19-1-0 with four ties in their last 24 home meetings with the Canadiens, outscoring them 83-41.
The Devils have also taken all three meetings between the teams this season and seven in a row in the series. They’ll face a Montreal club that has dropped a season-high four straight games, including a 1-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
The Canadiens failed to get back on track despite holding a 29-minute, players-only meeting after a 5-3 loss to Ottawa Saturday. They outshot the Panthers 16-6 in the final period, but couldn’t get the equalizer and have now been outscored 12-5 during their skid.
“It’s like walking in quicksand. You take one step forward and three steps back,” said Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau, whose team is 1-5-1 in its last seven games. “You have to work twice as hard to get somewhere. It seems like that’s what we’re doing right now.”
Sheldon Souray leads the Canadiens with 46 points, but has just one in 16 career meetings with New Jersey.
All-Star goaltender Cristobal Huet made 24 saves against the Panthers, but suffered his fourth straight defeat. David Aebischer will likely be in goal versus the Devils, despite going 0-1-1 with a tie and a 2.28 GAA in five career appearances against them.
Alexei Kovalev, Montreal’s third-leading scorer with 38 points, missed Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury after being benched most of the final period Saturday. Defenseman Craig Rivet is expected to remain sidelined Wednesday for the Canadiens as he recovers from pneumonia that has caused him to miss the last three contests.