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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
The Habs appear to be back to their losing ways after falling 5-3 to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night, putting them 0-2 since the All-Star break. After losing a key game to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night the Habs appeared to get the message, jumping out to a quick start that lasted all of about 30 seconds. The team began to gain momentum, however, after a fluke play in which the puck took a deflection off David Desharnais in front and found the back of the net to make it 1-0 Canadiens. Not too long after the Habs made it 2-0 when Andrei Kostitsyn was left all alone in front of the net. Before the period had expired Zach Parise would make it 2-1 on a weak shot that fooled Price. But the Canadiens would regain the 2 goal lead early in the third when Mathieu Darche would convert on the rebound of a shorthanded Tomas Plekanec breakaway.
While the goal should have given the Habs momentum it ended up doing just the opposite. After playing a weak first period Martin Brodeur would start shutting the door on the Canadiens. They soon found themselves in penalty trouble and David Clarkson would cut the Habs lead to 1 after a Ilya Kovalchuk slap shot deflected off his leg and into the net. In the third period the Habs looked slow and sluggish and the Devils once again took advantage of this making it 3-3 on an Alexei Ponikarovsky shot which deflected off Dainius Zubrus. With all the momentum going the Devils way a giveaway from Erik Cole would find Ilya Kovalchuk whose shot would find Zach Parise all alone in front of the net. Parise put the puck past a sprawling Carey Price for his second of the night to make it 4-3 Devils. Montreal would never recover as David Clarkson would find the empty net to cap off a 5-3 win for the home team.
Despite out-shooting the Devils 30-22 the Habs would fall victim to some at times questionable goaltending from Price, who would finish off the night with a .810 save percentage. The game would end up being a quite chippy affair which was not rea.l.ly expected from either the Devils or the Habs. Adam Larsson left the game after taking a legal hit from PK Subban while Mike Blunden also left the game with a lower body injury after sustaining a hit from Devils forward Patrik Elias.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1. Mathieu Darche: 1 goal 2 shots 18:40 TOI
Darche had possibly his best game as a Hab this season scoring a shorthanded goal and provided threatening offence for most of the game.
2. Louis Leblanc: 1 assist +1 1 shot 9:29 TOI
It was nice to see Leblanc in a Habs jersey again and he didn't have a bad game despite limited minutes.
3. Andrei Kostitsyn: 1 goal +1 12:48 TOI
He came, he scored and then he disappeared. Then again, so did the rest of the team.
Honourable Mention: Hal Gill +2 14:45 TOI
Somehow in a game of minuses Gill managed to be +2. Didn't notice Gill much tonight, and that is exactly when he is at his best.