The Montreal Canadiens have suddenly believed that they are a team in the race for a playoff spot after a few wins and only being six points out of eighth place. Still, their new-found confidence wasn't enough for Martin Brodeur and the hot New Jersey Devils, who won on the road, 3-1.
In Hockey Day in America's "late" game, it was appropriate that the U.S.-born players took advantage of the national spotlight. Three of the four goals in this game were scored by Americans. Minnesota's own, Zach Parise started the night's scoring with just under two minutes to go in the first period. The only player to break up the national pride on the scoresheet was Canadian David Clarkson, who scored with 18 seconds left in the second period. The Devils ability to get traffic on Carey Price was a factor in all three of their goals this evening.
It seemed as though the Devils would run away with the game; however, after a third power-play opportunity, Connecticut-native Max Pacioretty scored to cut New Jersey's lead in half. Montreal fed off the goal and got some pretty good chances, but the Devils stuck to their game-plan and Matt Taormina, who hails from Michigan, swung the momentum back on the visitors' side with a goal for the 3-1 lead (Just for kicks, Mark Fayne, who had an assist on Taormina's goal, is from New Hampshire). The Habs put on a bit of pressure on at the end, but as usual, Brodeur stood in the way of any signs of a comeback with a 21-save performance.
The Canadiens had the Devils' number in the first two matchups this season -- of course, that was before the Devils turned it on to the point where they have lost only once in regulation in the month of February. The Devils, who came into the game 7-1-2 in their last 10.
Before the game, the Canadiens held a tribute to former Montreal Expo Gary Carter, who passed away last Thursday. It did not air in the United States, but CBC had coverage on it. Martin Brodeur grew up cheering for Carter and the Expos and said, "For us, he was a part of our family." Via Sports Illustrated: