for this game

Three third-period goals lift Canadiens

Jan 25, 2008 - 4:03 AM
By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The Montreal Canadiens finally solved Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

Bryan Smolinski, captain Saku Koivu and Christopher Higgins scored third-period goals as the Canadiens broke a nine-game losing streak in New Jersey on Thursday with a 4-3 victory over the Devils in both teams' final game before the All-Star break.

Brodeur had dominated his hometown team, and in his 39th straight start against Montreal was doing it again as the Devils built a 3-1 lead and seemed well on their way to an 11th straight home win over the Canadiens.

But Smolinski scored his second goal of the game 29 seconds into the third period, lifting in a wrist shot from close range on a loose puck to begin an offensive blitz that saw Montreal outshoot New Jersey, 20-3.

The collapse prompted Devils coach Brent Sutter to put the team through a post-game workout. Although the locker room was open, New Jersey players did not show up to meet the media for 25 minutes after the end of the contest.

"The third period was a total lack of effort, total lack of commitment, total lack of everything it takes to win a hockey game," Sutter said. "That's facts. If they don't like it, too bad. Patting themselves on the back, having their plans to go to (Las) Vegas before the game is half over; I can't accept that. They can work in the gym now if they don't want to work on the ice."

With 8:06 remaining in the third, Koivu knocked down defenseman Mike Komisarek's point shot and the puck found its way into the net, withstanding a video review to tie the game at 3-3.

"I knew it was going to be a close call," Koivu said. "I didn't see the replay. You try to see the crossbar, make the adjustment and hope for the best."

David Clarkson took a penalty for hooking less than a minute later and Higgins tallied his 16th goal of the season with 5:29 left, pounding in a rebound from close range on the right side to give Montreal a 4-3 lead.

"We had some help on the power play there," Higgins said. "It was nice to be able to come back on them like that."

Despite just 10 saves, Cristobal Huet's hard luck against New Jersey stopped as he won for the first time in as eight career decisions against the Devils, whose 13 shots were a season low.

"It seems they always have our number," Huet said. "It was fun to win here, especially a game like that. Honestly, I am very surprised the way this game ended."

"If you look at the games they have been playing lately, they gave up a lead," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We've had a tendency to look at them as being bigger than they are."

Patrik Elias scored twice and captain Jamie Langenbrunner added a goal as the Devils' power play unit tallied twice and carried over its effort from Tuesday night, when it scored five times in a 7-3 victory in Philadelphia.

Elias registered his first goal at 12:18 of the first period with the Devils on a power play when he ripped a wrist shot from the left circle off the far post and into the net.

Defenseman Mike Mottau kept alive the play at the left point when he picked off Steve Begin's clearing attempt.

Mottau set up Elias' second goal - his 14th of the season when he carried the puck along the right boards and sent a pass across the top of the slot for the left wing to deposit behind Huet and double the lead 3:24 into the second period.

The Canadiens fought back to 2-1 at 14:12 of the second as Smolinski stormed down the slot and found an opening between Brodeur's pads.

Just over two minutes later, Montreal's lack of discipline prevented a full momentum swing, as Tomas Plekanec and Begin took minor penalties 31 seconds apart.

Langenbrunner cashed in on a two-man advantage with his eighth goal at 17:02, ripping a slap shot past Huet's left pad from the top of the slot.

Just 11 seconds later, Carbonneau's chatter cost the Canadiens a bench minor and another 5-on-3. But it might have turned the game in Montreal's favor.

"We had that second one (5-on-3) where a lot of guys decided to do their own thing - and everyone was on their own program from that point on," Sutter said. "The rest of the night, they just weren't focused."

"I guess that's what the coach said, right?" Elias said. "I don't think so. Obviously we didn't make the right plays on the second power play, but halfway through the game, we still had the lead. You cannot blame it on one minute in the game."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 0 1 3 4
    NEW JERSEY 1 2 0 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) PATRIK ELIAS 13 (MIKE MOTTAU) 12:18
    2ND PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 14 (MIKE MOTTAU, COLIN WHITE) 3:24
    MON - BRYAN SMOLINSKI 4 (ANDREI KOSTITSYN, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
    14:12
    NJD - (PP) JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER 8 (PAUL MA

    Jan 24 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 4
    NEW JERSEY 3
    3RD PRD: MON - (PP) CHRIS HIGGINS 16 (ROMAN HAMRLIK, SAKU KOIVU) 14:31

    Canadiens vs. DevilsJan 24 9:20 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Canadiens vs. DevilsJan 24 9:14 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 3
    NEW JERSEY 3
    3RD PRD: MON - SAKU KOIVU 9 (MIKE KOMISAREK) 11:54

    Canadiens vs. DevilsJan 24 9:13 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    NEW JERSEY 3
    3RD PRD: MON - BRYAN SMOLINSKI 5 (ANDREI MARKOV) 0:29

    Canadiens vs. DevilsJan 24 8:52 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 0 1 1
    NEW JERSEY 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) PATRIK ELIAS 13 (MIKE MOTTAU) 12:18
    2ND PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 14 (MIKE MOTTAU, COLIN WHITE) 3:24
    MON - BRYAN SMOLINSKI 4 (ANDREI KOSTITSYN, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
    14:12
    NJD - (PP) JAMIE LANGENBRUNN

    Jan 24 8:32 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    NEW JERSEY 3
    2ND PRD: NJD - (PP) JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER 8 (PAUL MARTIN, BRIAN GIONTA)
    17:02

    Canadiens vs. DevilsJan 24 8:31 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    NEW JERSEY 2
    2ND PRD: MON - BRYAN SMOLINSKI 4 (ANDREI KOSTITSYN, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
    14:12

    Canadiens vs. DevilsJan 24 8:22 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 0
    NEW JERSEY 2
    2ND PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 14 (MIKE MOTTAU, COLIN WHITE) 3:24

    Canadiens vs. DevilsJan 24 8:03 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 0 0
    NEW JERSEY 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) PATRIK ELIAS 13 (MIKE MOTTAU) 12:18
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MON 3 3
    NJD 6 6
    GOALIES: MON - CRISTOBAL HUET
    NJD - MARTI

    Jan 24 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 0
    NEW JERSEY 1
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) PATRIK ELIAS 13 (MIKE MOTTAU) 12:18

    Canadiens vs. DevilsJan 24 7:29 PM