Martin Brodeur continued his success at Bell Centre, making 29 saves en route to a 3-0 win over Montreal. With the loss, the Canadiens did not record a point for the first time in four games. For the better part of the contest, the Habs generated very little speed through the neutral zone and failed to establish any kind of sustained forecheck. Even though the Devils had three rookies on their blueline, very little was done to expose their potential shortcomings.
Zach Parise opened the scoring, banking in a shot off Carey Price’s pad after Dainius Zubrus won a puck battle behind the net. Overall, Montreal outshot New Jersey 10-3 in the opening frame, but the first period was still typical Devils hockey. The visitors clogged the neutral zone, kept shots to the perimeter and obtained opportunistic scoring.
It was more of the same early in the middle period, but the pace eventually picked up. Just past the midway point, Carey Price was forced into making his best save of the game, sliding across to stone Dainius Zubrus who one-timed a cross-ice pass during a two-on-one rush. Unfortunately for the young netminder, Jason Arnott, whose shot deflected off a Montreal player, scored moments later, giving New Jersey a two-goal cushion. The final minute of the period featured some nervous moments, as both Brian Gionta and Roman Hamrlik were in the penalty box. As a result, the Devils were afforded a brief two man advantage, but the Canadiens managed to finish the period without conceding another goal.
In spite of Montreal’s penalty killing successes, hopes of a comeback were dashed early in the third period. Jason Arnott won an offensive zone draw, allowing youngster Matt Taormina to wire a high shot from point. Although the Habs were afforded two man-advantages in the frame, they were unable to capitalize on either, going 0-for-3 on the night. Carey Price finished the night with 17 saves.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1. P.K Subban Subban was the team’s most dynamic offensive player, joining the rush frequently and shooting with regularity. His impressive spin move almost led to a goal and he unleashed a few powerful shots from the point.
Statline: 0 G, 0 A, Even, 5 shots, 5 missed shots, 24:02 TOI
2. Andrei Kostitsyn For all my criticisms of Andrei Kostitsyn, his game has greatly improved over the past few games. He started the contest on the right foot, intensely forechecking in the Devils zone and creating a scoring chance. And, best of all, he remained involved through most of the contest.
Statline: 0 G, 0 A, -1, 2 shots, 2 missed shots, 1 hit, 15:15 TOI
3. Roman Hamrlik Beyond Subban, Hamrlik was the team’s steadiest blueliner. He made a few nice passes, cleared his zone effectively and was fairly physical. In addition, given the poor game partner Spacek played, it is surprising he broke even on the night.
Statline: 0 G, 0 A, Even, 4 blocked shots, 2 hits, 19:46 TOI