Tonight, the Habs will be in New Jersey to face a red hot Devils team, who has won the last 5 games in a row. The Devils have had a sluggish start to this season, where the team was on the road for the first 16 games of the season. After 24 seasons of playing in the “Swamp”, the team ushered in a new $380 million dollar arena on October 27th, the Prudential Center. Despite such a tough schedule, a new head coach in Brent Sutter, and the loss of several key players for parts of the first quarter of the season, New Jersey has managed to climb 2 games back over the .500 mark.
The Devils are coming off of a hard fought 4-2 home win last Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars. That win brought the team up to a .500 home record for the first time this season. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period against Dallas, starting goalie Martin Brodeur heard some mock cheers from the fans, for his subsequent saves that period. It must have motivated him and his teammates, who produced four unanswered goals in the following two periods for the win.
Head coach Guy Carbonneau has announced his starting goalie will be Carey Price, paving the way for Cristobal Huet to start tomorrow night’s game back in Montreal against Nashville. Tonight’s game is the first of four matches this season between these two teams. Last season, New Jersey dominated the Habs, with a 4-0-0 record, outscoring the Habs 12-4.
Habs Notes: The Canadiens and Devils have some strong connections between the players and personnel. Former Habs defenceman Larry Robinson is an assistant coach for New Jersey, Pierre Mondou & Pat Burns are scouts, and Jacques Laperriere is a consultant. Kirk Muller played for both teams, as did Habs assistant coach Roland Melanson. Devils forward Aaron Asham, started his career with Montreal, and is playing for New Jersey this season. Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Don Lever played a few seasons for New Jersey, and Hamilton Bulldogs assistant coach Ron Wilson played hockey at Providence college, at a time when Devils GM Lou Lamoriello was the coach.
Devils Notes: Forward Jay Pandolfo, is expected to miss tonight’s game due to an injury. Pandolfo has the team’s 3rd longest consecutive games played streak of 307. The 2nd place iron-man holder is Kirk Muller with 321, and the leader is Ken Daneyko with 388 games.