If the New Jersey Devils are dominating a team over a few seasons, it is a safe assumption that Martin Brodeur has played a big role in that success. That has certainly been the case against the Montreal Canadiens.
Brodeur and the Devils (28-17-3) seek their 10th straight win against the Canadiens (25-15-8) when the teams play their final game before the All-Star break Thursday night at the Prudential Center.
New Jersey continued its mastery of Montreal with a 4-0 home victory on Nov. 30 as Zach Parise recorded his first career hat trick in support of Brodeur’s 27-save performance.
It was the Devils’ ninth consecutive win over the Canadiens, who are 0-8-1 in the series since a 3-2 victory on March 20, 2004. New Jersey has outscored Montreal 33-16 in those nine wins.
Brodeur has started every game during the win streak, posting a 1.76 goals-against average and two shutouts. He has been nearly perfect in his last five starts against the Canadiens, giving up four goals in over 304 minutes for a 0.79 GAA.
In 51 games against his hometown team, the three-time Vezina Trophy winner is 34-12-0 with five ties, a 1.74 GAA and eight shutouts.
Brodeur made 24 saves and defenseman Johnny Oduya had the best game of his career with a goal and three assists in New Jersey’s 7-3 victory at Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Patrik Elias and Parise each scored twice for the Devils, who matched a team record with five power-play goals after they were 0-for-15 with the man advantage in their previous four games.
“It seems like always we have been struggling on the power play,” said Oduya, who had his first multi-point game. “I think we played pretty good at times but tonight we got the bounces early on there to get some goals.”
New Jersey has won five of seven to move into first place in the Atlantic Division.
“We put pucks on net, we directed pucks toward the net, and we had guys around the net,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “We moved the puck well, we got some rebounds, we got some screen shots and we made the most of our opportunities. We created chances by going to the net and we scored some goals in areas we need to score some goals in.”
The seven goals were a season-high for the Devils, who are among the league’s lowest-scoring teams with 122 goals in 48 games.
Montreal is coming off a lopsided win of its own, 8-2 over visiting Boston on Tuesday.
“We had a couple of good bounces to start off and all of a sudden it was 4-1,” said goaltender Cristobal Huet, who made 29 saves. “We played great and everything went our way. We had good bounces but we worked for it. The guys were putting everything in tonight.”
With their third win in four games, the Canadiens pulled within six points of slumping Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead.
Huet has never beaten the Devils, going 0-6-0 with a 3.29 GAA. In his only career start at New Jersey on Feb. 14, he allowed three goals on 20 shots before being pulled in the second period of a 5-2 loss.