The Devils traveled north to Montreal to face the Canadiens just 24 hours after a tough shootout loss to the same team. New Jersey had gotten a point out of that game and came within a hair of winning in the shootout, but it was still rough for the team to take. In the Montreal end of the back-to-back home-and-home, the Devils would look to bounce back against the top team in the NHL.
The goaltending matchup remained the same from Friday night: Cory Schneider against Mike Condon. Cory would wind up with 30 saves on the game, while Carey Price’s understudy would make 28 saves. Both goalies again played really well, with Schneider particularly keeping New Jersey in a game that could have gotten ugly fast.
Things remained scoreless through one. Alex Galchenyuk continued his scoring assault when he broke through at 9:06 of the second, tipping in a Nathan Beaulieu shot. Midway through the third, Patrik Elias was called for interference, putting Montreal on the power play. Galchenyuk again victimized the Devils when he wristed one by Schneider at 8:05.
From there, the Canadiens, a team that owns the third period and has outscored their opponents by an obscene number of goals in that frame, came apart.
The Devils cut the lead in half when Travis Zajac spun out of the near corner in the offensive zone, giving the puck to Adam Larsson at the right point. Larsson fired the puck on net with Elias stationed in front. Patty tipped the puck behind Condon at 11:01 and it was 2-1, Montreal. Larsson had originally been given credit for the goal until it was changed to Elias. It was Patty’s first in his short season so far.
Late in the third, with Schneider pulled from the Devils’ net, the faceoff came deep in the Habs’ zone. Zajac took the draw and got some help from Adam Henrique, who jumped into the circle after Zajac neutralized Tomas Plekanec and sent it to John Moore at the point. Moore moved it over to Kyle Palmieri, whose one-timer found twine and the Devils had tied the game with less than 30 seconds left in the game.
When time ran out, the Devils had taken two of a possible four points from the Habs, as they headed to overtime for the second straight night. This one, however, would be different.
Both teams had chances. Damon Severson got away with what looked like a tripping call on PK Subban after trying to bank the puck around the 2013 Norris Trophy winner. But the Devils got the ultimate chance when Elias poked the puck free from a Montreal player, moving it ahead to Henrique who he sprung for a breakaway. With Sven Andrighetto on his tail, Henrique dropped the puck to a trailing John Moore, who shot. Condon made the initial save, but Moore jammed his own rebound in and gave the Devils a miraculous win in the Bell Centre.
New Jersey had played hard in two straight against the Habs and were able to come out with a dramatic win in the second game. The Devils will try to use this as a launching pad to bigger things. Their next five games come against teams that missed the playoffs last season, although, like Steve Cangialosi pointed out during the MSG broadcast, there are no soft games in the NHL. After all, while the Devils beat league-leading Montreal tonight, they also lost to league-bottom feeder Edmonton earlier this month.
Next up, Patrick Roy’s struggling Colorado Avalanche come to Newark and the Devils will look to keep that momentum rolling. While tonight was a great victory, you are only as good as your next game in the NHL and the Devils know that.