NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, January 27th (All times Eastern)
New Jersey Devils (3-0-0) at Montreal Canadiens (2-1-0), 6 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will try to remain unbeaten on the young season when they visit the Montreal Canadiens for Sunday's game at the Bell Centre.
The Devils have won three straight to begin the season, giving them their best start since also going 3-0 to begin the 2002-03 campaign.
New Jersey's last 4-0 start to a season came in 1995-96.
The Devils won three of four meetings against the Canadiens last year and Jersey has claimed six of the last nine encounters overall. Montreal has also lost eight in a row to the Devils on home ice.
Jersey is coming off Friday's win against the visiting Washington Capitals. Although the Devils held a 2-0 lead heading into the third period the team needed Ilya Kovalchuk's goal with 21 seconds left in overtime to post the 3-2 victory at Prudential Center.
Kovalchuk received a pass from Marek Zidlicky on the end line and beat Capitals goaltender Michael Neuvirth with a wrister for the win.
Zidlicky had two assists and Patrik Elias and Stephen Gionta each added a goal for the Devils. Martin Brodeur stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in the victory.
"We've been finding ways to win. We've been playing decent hockey," Brodeur said. "We got into penalty trouble today that could have set us back a little bit, but we came through in overtime."
Sunday's test marks the start of a two-game road trip for New Jersey, which will also visit Boston on Tuesday. The Devils were 24-15-2 as the away team in 2011-12.
The Canadiens began the season with a loss in Toronto but Montreal has won two games since, including Thursday's decisive victory in Washington. Carey Price made 30 saves to help the Habs record the 4-1 win and Montreal scored all four of its goals in the second period.
Andrei Markov had a goal and an assist while Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges all lit the lamp for the Canadiens, who went 2-for-6 on the power play.
"We took advantage of our power play, especially in the second period, and the power play gave us a chance to win this hockey game," said Montreal head coach Michel Therrien.
Markov has three goals on the season and all of those scores have come on the power play over the last two games. The oft-injured defenseman played in a total of 65 games in the three seasons prior to this one, but he is a force on the power play when healthy.
Speaking of talented Montreal defenseman, the Habs are still without the services of unsigned restricted free agent P.K. Subban and the two sides seem far apart. The 23-year-old Subban wants a long-term deal, but reports say Montreal is sticking to the two-year, $5.1 million offer they tabled back in May.
There's some speculation that the contract dispute could lead to Montreal trading Subban, who has recorded 76 points (21 goals, 55 assists) in 160 games at the NHL level. He was selected by Montreal with the 43rd overall pick of the 2007 draft.
The Canadiens are playing the first of two straight at home on Sunday and they'll also host Winnipeg on Tuesday.
01/27 10:49:34 ET