The red-hot Montreal Canadiens made the New Jersey Devils their latest victims. They'll try for a repeat performance on the road as the teams close out a home-and-home series at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Wednesday night.
Montreal (16-9-3) is 6-0-1 in its past seven games after a 3-2 victory at Bell Centre on Monday. Alex Galchenyuk, Rene Bourque and Max Pacioretty scored for the Canadiens, while defenceman P.K. Subban recorded his team-leading 20th assist, had five blocked shots and made two dramatic goal-line saves.
The Canadiens were outshot 22-9 through two periods and 30-17 overall, but continued to roll since a 5-7-2 stretch. Montreal has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of its last 11 games, and its season total of 59 is third lowest in the NHL.
"I appreciate that we found a way to win," Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said. "That's what matters."
Carey Price played a big part in finding it, making 28 saves to win his fifth straight start. He's posted a 1.80 goals-against average in that span.
"It's fun to play right now," said Subban, who has a goal, six assists and a plus-6 rating in the last seven contests.
"It's fun for our hockey club right now to go out and play and we just hope the games keep coming because we got the ball rolling."
Canadiens centre David Desharnais also continued to produce with two assists Monday, giving him two goals and six assists in his past seven games after he managed one assist in his first 19.
The Devils (11-12-5) had been seeking a third straight victory before suffering their third loss in four meetings with the Canadiens. New Jersey hadn't lost in regulation at Montreal in the previous nine matchups.
Former Canadiens forward Michael Ryder and Steve Bernier scored for the Devils. Bernier has a goal in each of the last two games for New Jersey, which has dropped four of six.
Martin Brodeur made 14 saves and wasn't at his best, indicating that the lack of work left him struggling to stay focused.
"Usually when I don't have any shots, what helps me is that I'm used to playing the puck," he said. "When I get no shots, I'm able to stay in the game.
"But when I get no shots and I can't play the puck, the games are long [and] it's tough to get going. Not before the third period that I felt good and I started making some saves."
Brodeur has given up seven goals in his last two starts, and he's lost four straight. Backup Cory Schneider has gone 3-1-1 with a 0.97 GAA in his past five outings, including a 1-0 win over Buffalo on Saturday.
The Devils were without defenceman Adam Larsson and forwards Stephen Gionta and Ryan Clowe on Monday. The status of all three for Wednesday is uncertain, though Clowe practiced Tuesday on a limited basis for the first time in almost two months.
He's missed the last 22 games.
The Devils have won two of their past three at home against Montreal, with the most recent such matchup a 3-2 New Jersey victory April 23.
Pacioretty has three goals and an assist in the past two games and he's scored one goal in two straight and three of his last four meetings with New Jersey.