A trip to Montreal might be just what the Devils needed to right the ship on their disappointing season.
Martin Brodeur stopped 29 shots to help carry the Devils to a 3-0 win over the Canadiens tonight at the Bell Centre.
“We have a big weekend ahead of us, so we wanted to get a good start to our three games in four nights,” Brodeur said after the game. “But we have to build on it. You don’t start a season the way we did and think one game is going to fix everything. We have to keep working the way we did tonight.”
The Devils struck first, with Zach Parise putting the team ahead, 1-0, at 4:20 of the first period. The play started with Parise, Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus heading behind the net to play a loose puck. Zajac controlled the puck and passed it to Parise, who was open on the goal line. The left-winger took a quick shot, and the puck trickled through the pads of Carey Price for the goal.
That goal loomed large, as the Devils were outshot, 10-3, in the period and took the crowd out of the mix. Parise said the Devils wanted to silence the crowd quickly.
“We talked before the game about how this team always feeds off the crowd and starts well,” Parise said. “We got an early lead and played smart hockey after that, so we didn’t give them much to cheer about. That’s always a good thing when you come in here.”
Jason Arnott would extend the Devils lead to 2-0 at 14:59 of the second period. Jamie Langenbrunner controlled the puck behind the net, and skated it along the boards. He left a drop pass for Dainius Zubrus, who curled around and stopped at the side boards. The right-winger passed the puck to Arnott, who was open in the low slot. The Devils’ center whipped a shot on net that deflected off of Dustin Boyd and went through Price’s legs for Arnott’s 100th goal as a Devil.
Matt Taormina continued his hot streak, scoring at 3:38 of the final period to stretch the lead to 3-0. Arnott won a faceoff in the Habs zone, and sent a pass back to Taormina. The rookie defenseman settled a rolling puck and fired a shot on net. The puck found its way through a crowd and went over the glove of Price for Taormina’s second goal of the season.
That would be all Brodeur would need, as the Devils goalie shut down the Canadiens in the third period.
The Devils’ goalie made his biggest save of the night during a Habs’ power-play in the third period. Brodeur went behind the net to play the puck, but bumped into one of his defenseman. With the puck loose behind the net, Brodeur scrambled to get back to his net. The Habs played it to the slot, where Brian Gionta fired a shot on net. Devils’ defenseman Andy Greene dove and deflected the puck with his stick, but it wouldn’t be high enough to miss the net. Brodeur, sitting on his backside, blocked the puck with his mask for the save.
With the win, Brodeur improved to 39-16-5 in 60 career starts against the Canadiens, including an 18-14-2 record in Montreal.
Parise noted that Brodeur always seems to bring a little extra against the Canadiens.
“Marty always seems to play his best in Montreal and you kind of come to expect it,” Parise said to Gulitti. “He had a great game and I thought our D did a really good job of letting him see all the shots and when they did get through he was there to make the save. All around it was a good effort by us.”
Both Devils victories have been shutouts this season. MacLean believes that shows what the team can do when it puts its best effort on the ice.
“You know what that says is when we put a 60-minute like that one in with 20 guys contributiing, we’re a good a hockey team,” MacLean said.
The Devils get a night off before facing the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night at the Prudential Center.