NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 16th (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (18-5-4) at New Jersey Devils (13-9-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens try to match their longest winning streak of the season on Saturday night when they visit the New Jersey Devils for the first time in 2013.
The Canadiens have won four straight and have logged a point in 15 of their past 16 games. They are 12-1-3 in that stretch, which began with a season-high five straight wins from Feb. 12-19.
Montreal extended its current run with Wednesday's 4-3 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators. Lars Eller had the deciding goal in the tiebreaker as he faked to the backhand before snapping in a forehand shot in the third round.
Carey Price then sealed the win by stopping Kyle Turris' wrister to cap a 29- save performance.
"It felt good to make a difference in the end," said Eller, who also scored in the first period. "We got two points which is what we wanted and got. I feel pretty good, but it's not hard to when your team is winning."
Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban both scored power-play goals in the second period for the Canadiens, who with 40 points are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the most in the Eastern Conference and one ahead of the Boston Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division.
Montreal, though, won't have forward Michael Ryder due to a lower body injury as he did not make the trip to New Jersey. He has a pair of goals and nine points in eight games since being acquired from the Dallas Stars.
Habs center David Desharnais will play in his first game since inking a four- year extension on Friday. He has eight goals and eight assists in 27 games this season and was third on the club last season with 60 points.
While the Canadiens have been surging since mid-February, the Devils have struggled to a 3-6-2 mark in their past 11 games. Those contests have all come without the services of goaltender Martin Brodeur, who has not played since Feb. 21 due to a sore back.
New Jersey had won three of four, including Wednesday's home win over Philadelphia, before dropping Friday's conclusion of the home-and-home set versus the Flyers 2-1 in a shootout.
David Clarkson had a game-tying goal in the second period, but both he and Patrik Elias had their shootout attempts fail after Ilya Kovalchuk opened the tiebreaker with a first-round tally.
Johan Hedberg, meanwhile, yielded goals to the first two skaters he faced after making 21 saves through overtime.
"They were more cautious in the game today than (Wednesday)," said Hedberg. "Obviously they weren't pinching on everything, and it seemed like they played more tighter game than they did. I think we played a really good road game and come down to a shootout."
New Jersey had won each of its first seven shootouts versus the Flyers since the format was introduced and the point did pull the Devils into a tie with the Ottawa Senators for fifth place in the East with 32 points.
The Devils had won three straight versus the Habs before suffering a 4-3 overtime setback in Montreal on Jan. 27. Andrei Markov scored on the power- play with 38 seconds left in the bonus frame, while Gallagher was one of three regulation scorers for the Canadiens.
Price made 22 saves and Brodeur had 28 stops, while Elias and Clarkson scored for the Devils
These teams have split the past eight encounters in New Jersey.
03/16 10:22:02 ET