When it looked like the Devils would fall a second time to the Montreal Canadiens, they overcame everything. A three goal comeback at Centre Bell was finished by defenseman John Moore scoring the game winner in overtime giving New Jersey a 3-2 win on Saturday night snapping the Habs four game winning streak.
The home and home series switched north of the border where the Habs hoped to pull off another victory at home hosting the Devils. They managed to steal one in New Jersey winning it on Sven Andrighetto’s game winner in a shoot out that gave them a 3-2 win late into the night. Wasting no time to prepare for the next game, Montreal would have to find a way to defend their four game winning streak. Without Carey Price in net, it would be up to Mike Condon and an offense that doesn’t have Brendan Gallagher to stabilize their streak.
They were first to get the puck flying in the New Jersey zone where Cory Schneider stood in net for the third straight after losing one to Montreal Friday. He held them off until the Devils could gain their time with possession. Condon also did well to stop them from taking an early break on the scoreboard.
Montreal handed the Devils a power play, which they took care of swiftly by not allowing them a single shot on net. The Habs tried to draw a penalty on New Jersey but failed to get locked down for a man advantage. They earned one with four minutes left but they couldn’t covert on the chance due to solid man-to-man coverage from New Jersey. Montreal had the lead on shots to the net by the end of the period outshooting them 10-5 while winning 12 of 18 on the faceoff.
The game turned in favor of the Devils who came out hot for a goal to score against Montreal. Through the first six minutes of play, they had already took seven shots on Condon getting very close to putting one in. They were still held scoreless even after notching nine shots through the middle of the second. Montreal knew that a change needed to come, as they were low on producing against New Jersey.
Their chance came during even strength where the Canadiens had position inside the Devil’s zone ready to strike at any point. Nathan Beaulieu was the striker for Montreal firing a shot from far end center that went off the mid stick of teammate Alex Galchenyuk to give the 21-year-old center his sixth of the season. Knowing that they missed out on their chance to control the game, New Jersey pressed forward trying to make something of the final minutes of the period. Montreal answered by allowing them very little room to move the puck well.
The third was New Jersey’s last chance to break on the board, but the competition from Montreal was more than alive to do as good as they have throughout the season. It was a give and take session through the first seven minutes of play with Montreal gaining an edge with strong attacks. They nearly had one on two quick occasions near Schneider as the loose puck got out of his hands but had the defense making the stop.
The Habs had another similar scoring chance as the puck took a rebound from captain Max Pacioretty’s shot in front. It bounced around loose inside the crease before Galchenyuk got a stick on it where he lifted it high to ring top shelf scoring his second of the night.
New Jersey had to answer fast before the remainder of the game got away from them. It came together three minutes later with Adam Larsson sending a low shot through traffic where it caught the stick of Patrik Elias to give him his first of the season and in reach of evening up with Montreal.
There was plenty of time to make that happen but it would take an effort higher than the Habs confidence of walking away with a second win over the Devils. They would get no where near their level as Montreal skated hard in the final minutes actively searching for another goal to put the Devils out of commission. New Jersey managed to get a shot on net but it wasn’t enough sending coach John Hynes to use the team’s only timeout.
The Devils planned to pull Schneider from the net but time was ticking away as they continued to skate in their zone. He got the chance to skate off for a sixth attacker to take his place but play was stopped as Montreal used their timeout. With the faceoff taking place in the Canadiens zone New Jersey would have to win it.
They gained a chance moving the puck across the blue line where Kyle Palmeri got an open shot near the board scoring on a sharp angle to tie the game with 21 seconds left. It was his eighth goal this season and the one that would push both teams to play 3 on 3 hockey for five minutes until there was a winner.
Many shifts occurred between the two teams as two minutes had elapsed with neither having a good look on a shot. Montreal took their second shot but failed to get one on Schneider. For the Devils, they waited for the right moment to notch their second shot on net and did it in stunning fashion. A block of Andrei Markov by Elias left the puck wide open for Moore to make a move on the puck. He along with Adam Henrique went on a break away where Henrique made one last pass to score the game winner for his second of the season.
It was an improbable win prior to the second period but their three unanswered march to victory was one to be impressed by. Schneider secured a victory for himself in net doing work against the Canadiens. He stopped 30 of 32 for his 11th victory this season and one that did the trick on the road.
While Montreal tries to figure out what happened on home ice, they would sweep it under the rug and take two days rest before hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.