for this game

Devils win in Julien's return to Montreal

Nov 5, 2006 - 2:38 AM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Martin Brodeur stood tall to allow coach Claude Julien to relax in familiar surroundings.

Brodeur made 33 saves and Jay Pandolfo and Brian Rafalski scored to lead the New Jersey Devils to their third victory in four games, a 2-1 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens.

New Jersey won its fifth consecutive game against Montreal in Julien's first contest against the team he guided for nearly two seasons before he was fired January 14. He was 72-71-16 with the Canadiens.

"I was excited about the game tonight," Julien said. "It wasn't about revenge. It was about pride. We are all proud people and you always want to come back and do well in a place you've been before."

Third on the league's all-time victories list, Brodeur recorded his 453rd win and raised his record to 7-5-0 this season. The Montreal native has more career victories against the Canadiens (30) than any other opponent outside the Atlantic Division.

"Everybody knows how important it is to me to play in Montreal," Brodeur said. "The players are playing well for me. Yes, I'm doing it, but the guys in front of me are doing a great job."

Brodeur was briefly shaken up with 6:30 left in the third period when he was accidentally kicked in the head by Guillaume Latendresse after making a save. However, the two-time Vezina Trophy winner remained in the game.

"It was nothing major," Brodeur said. "I don't think I'll have a headache later, but he hit me pretty hard with his skate. He didn't do it on purpose, but it's still scary to see a skate coming at your head."

The Devils opened the scoring with 7:22 left in the first period, thanks to crisp passing by John Madden and defensemen Paul Martin, who set up Pandolfo's one-timer from the right faceoff circle that got by goaltender Cristobal Huet's left pad.

New Jersey doubled the margin on a power play midway through the second session, when Huet made a pair of saves on Sergei Brylin in front before Rafalski knocked in the rebound. It was the first goal scored by a Devils defenseman this season.

"I didn't want to get there (the net) too early," Rafalski said. "It bounced in a good spot for me. Driving the net and creating havoc makes good things happen."

"I can't say enough about our team and the way they competed tonight," Julien said. "We've had some injuries and we've had some issues but it didn't matter because we found a way to win the game."

Chris Higgins halved the deficit for the Canadiens with the man advantage on a deflection of blue-liner Craig Rivet's shot from the left circle that tipped off Rafalski's stick in front with 6:14 to go in the second period. It was his team-leading eighth goal.

Huet turned away 27 shots but slipped to 3-2-2 for the Canadiens, who have not defeated the Devils since March 20, 2004.

"I think we played a lot better (in the) second and third period than we have in a lot of games this year," Montreal captain Saku Koivu said. "Sometimes you don't get the results you want even when you get the chances. You have to give them credit. They are a patient team and very good in front of their net."

"Could we have done more? You can always do more," Canadiens coach Guy Carboneau said. "We did put in the effort. We played well on the defense and the offense."

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