New Jersey Devils (1-4-1) at Montreal Canadiens (3-1-1) – Thursday October
The Montreal Canadiens encounter a familiar nemesis tonight, as they take on
Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. This game marks the first
occasion this season that these two teams will play each other after the Devils
won last year’s season series 3 games to 1. New Jersey has struggled out
of the gate this year, and haven’t played since a 4-1 loss to Boston on Saturday
night. The Habs also haven’t played since Saturday when they bested their
divisional rivals, the Ottawa Senators, 4-3.
It is assumed that the well-rested Martin Brodeur (1-4-1, 3.18 GAA, .887 SV%)
will be in net for the Devils tonight, and that he will be looking to fill his
usual role of frustrating his hometown team, while improving on some
uncharacteristically mediocre numbers. Carey Price (3-1-1, 2.57 GAA, .914
SV%) gets the start for Montreal after finally recording a victory at the Bell
Centre in approximately 8 months. Career-wise, Brodeur is an exceptional
38-16-5 against Montreal, with a 1.78 GAA, .931 save percentage, and 8 shutouts.
Price’s record against the Devils stands at 2-3-1, with a respectable 2.17 GAA
and .932 save percentage.
The One Hundred Million Dollar man himself, Ilya Kovalchuk, leads the Devils
in scoring through 6 games (2-3-5), but is in good company with Patrik Elias
(1-3-4), Jason Arnott (2-1-3), Jamie Langenbrunner (0-3-3), Travis Zajac (1-2-3)
and Zach Parise (1-1-2). The Canadiens’ top scorers feature members of the
first line, with Tomas Plekanec (2-3-5), Andrei Kostitsyn (2-2-4), and Mike
Cammalleri (2-1-3) providing the majority of scoring thus far. Former-Devils Scott Gomez
(1-1-2) and captain Brian Gionta (1-1-2) haven’t had much of an impact on the
scoresheet, and coach Jacques Martin has kept their left-winger rotating in an effort
to ice an effective unit. Tom Pyatt, a healthy scratch against Ottawa,
looks to be the newest winger one their line for tonight.
With a 5.9% success rate on the powerplay, the Canadiens rank last in the
NHL, having only converted once this season with the man advantage. The
Devils haven’t fared much better, and their 11.8% conversion rate
is ranked 20th in the league. With all their failings with the man
advantage, it is fitting that Montreal employs one of the NHL’s best
penalty-killing units, having successfully killed 90% of their penalties.
New Jersey ranks mid-pack with a 85.7% efficiency rate with the man
Montreal remains without the services of Andrei Markov (knee), who seems
tantalizingly close to returning to the lineup. New Jersey will be missing
Bryce Salvador (concussion), Brian Rolston (hernia), Mark Fraser (hand) and
Anton Volchenkov (head) is considered doubtful to play tonight. Mathieu
Darche and Ryan O’Byrne will likely be the healthy scratches for Montreal.
The game begins at 7:30 EST and can be seen on RDS (HD) and MSG Plus.
This preview was written by Matt