for this game

Devils extend winning streak by topping Canadiens

Jan 22, 2009 - 4:33 AM By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Devils are in a position that seemed unattainable when Martin Brodeur went down with an injury back in November - first place at the All-Star break.

Defensemen Johnny Oduya and Paul Martin each recorded a goal and an assist as the Devils extended their winning streak to five games with a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, completing their unlikely rise to the top of the Atlantic Division standings at the midway point of the season.

All-Star Zach Parise and Patrik Elias also scored a goal and set up another while Travis Zajac added a tally for the Devils (29-15-3), who ended the first half of the season atop the division - one point ahead of the idle New York Rangers (28-16-4).

Blue-liner Josh Gorges and Matt D'Agostini scored and Carey Price made 29 saves in his first start since December 30 for the Canadiens, who have lost two straight.

Price, who is slated to start for the Eastern Conference in Sunday's All-Star Game at the Bell Centre, stopped nine of 10 shots in relief during Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers. It was his first appearance since suffering an ankle sprain just over two weeks ago.

"Right off the start, I felt pretty solid," Price said. "I feel like I'd rather be playing tomorrow night, but I get an opportunity to keep sharp going into the All-Star Game, so I'm looking forward to that."

Brodeur injured his elbow in a 6-1 victory over the Thrashers on November 1 and has not played since, paving the way for Scott Clemmensen to take over the starting goaltending duties ahead of Kevin Weekes.

"It's a credit to the players, staying with it and staying strong," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "We've dealt with adversity the right way. The guys in that room have been through a lot, and they don't get rattled."

Despite entering the season with eight career wins, the 31-year-old Clemmensen has been a mainstay in net, posting a 19-9-1 record.

"Whatever goalie comes in, he's not going to be as good as Marty Brodeur, because he's the best in the world," Clemmensen said. "I can't fault them for it, but people thought, 'The Devils are not going to be as good now.'"

Clemmensen kept Montreal off the scoreboard in the first period by stopping nine shots, and turned aside 12 more in the second as Martin, Zajac and Oduya staked New Jersey to a 3-1 lead by the end of the session.

"I don't feel like I have to win games by myself," said Clemmensen, who made 26 saves. "I don't think that the team feels like they have to work harder to compensate for me being in there, either. The team has confidence in me, I in them."

The rise to the top was not lost on Martin, who was plus-3 to raise his season mark to plus-12.

"I'm sure once (Brodeur's injury) happened, everyone kind of counted us out as far as being in first place," Martin said. "But I think that's the character and pride we have in this locker room. For now, the guys have stepped up and shown they really want to win."

Martin committed the first mistake of the game with a cross-checking penalty but immediately made up for it when he beat Price between the pads on a breakaway with 8:08 left in the first for his fourth goal of the season. John Madden stole the puck and Elias sprung the defenseman on the clean break down the center of the ice moments after Martin exited the penalty box.

"(Elias) made a great saucer pass with me streaking, right on the tape, and I just happened to find (a hole between the pads)," said Martin, who could not recall having another breakaway in his NHL career. "We work on breakaways in practice, and the more you actually try to make a move, the more chances are you're going to lose it."

The Devils doubled their lead at 6:18 of the second, when Zajac scored his 15th goal of the season, tapping in a rebound from the doorstep after Price stopped his deflection of a shot by Parise.

Parise is the lone Devil headed to Montreal for Sunday's All-Star Game.

Montreal halved the deficit with 6:04 left in the middle period, three seconds after a power play expired. Gorges broke a 25-game scoreless drought, putting a loose rebound into the open top of the net from in front.

Gorges had not scored since November 24, netting just a single goal in the first 184 games of his career before that.

The Devils restored the two-goal bulge with 1:40 left in the second, when Oduya took a feed from Martin and blasted a slap shot from the left point through traffic and past the glove of Price. It was his first goal since December 19th, which also marked Martin's last multi-point effort.

"We played very solid here tonight," Sutter said. "We played well. We were able to score at right times. We did a lot of good things tonight."

Parise added his team-best 28th goal 2:05 into the third, when his pass from the left faceoff circle went off the stick of a lunging Sergei Kostitsyn and between Price's pads.

Montreal cut the deficit to 4-2 during a power play less than six minutes later as D'Agostini took a slap shot that hit Oduya's stick and fluttered past a screened Clemmensen on the short side.

The Canadiens got their captain, center Saku Koivu, back into the lineup after a 17-game absence due to a high ankle sprain.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 0 1 1 2
    NEW JERSEY 1 2 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - PAUL MARTIN 4 (PATRIK ELIAS, JOHN MADDEN) 11:52
    2ND PRD: NJD - TRAVIS ZAJAC 15 (ZACH PARISE, JOHNNY ODUYA) 6:18
    MON - JOSH GORGES 2 (SAKU KOIVU, MATT D'AGOSTINI) 13:54
    NJD - JOHNNY ODUYA 4 (PAUL MARTIN) 18:20
    3R

    Jan 21 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    NEW JERSEY 5
    3RD PRD: NJD - (SH) (EN) PATRIK ELIAS 20 (JOHN MADDEN) 19:55

    Canadiens 2, Devils 5  3rd - 0:05Jan 21 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    NEW JERSEY 4
    3RD PRD: MON - (PP) MAX PACIORETTY 4 (MATT D'AGOSTINI, ANDREI MARKOV)
    7:46

    Canadiens 2, Devils 4  3rd - 12:14Jan 21 9:09 PM
  • 10
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Canadiens 1, Devils 4  3rd - 13:15Jan 21 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    NEW JERSEY 4
    3RD PRD: NJD - ZACH PARISE 28 (UNASSISTED) 2:05

    Canadiens 1, Devils 4  3rd - 17:55Jan 21 8:57 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 - PAUL MARTIN 4 (PATRIK ELIAS, JOHN MADDEN) 11:52
    2ND PRD: NJD - TRAVIS ZAJAC 15 (ZACH PARISE, JOHNNY ODUYA) 6:18
    MON - JOSH GORGES 2 (SAKU KOIVU, MATT D'AGOSTINI) 13:54
    NJD - JOHNNY ODUYA 4 (PAUL MAR

    Jan 21 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    NEW JERSEY 3
    2ND PRD: NJD - JOHNNY ODUYA 4 (PAUL MARTIN) 18:20

    Canadiens 1, Devils 3  2nd - 1:40Jan 21 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    NEW JERSEY 2
    2ND PRD: MON - JOSH GORGES 2 (SAKU KOIVU, MATT D'AGOSTINI) 13:54

    Canadiens 1, Devils 2  2nd - 6:06Jan 21 8:27 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 0
    NEW JERSEY 2
    2ND PRD: NJD - TRAVIS ZAJAC 15 (ZACH PARISE, JOHNNY ODUYA) 6:18

    Canadiens 0, Devils 2  2nd - 13:42Jan 21 8:09 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 - PAUL MARTIN 4 (PATRIK ELIAS, JOHN MADDEN) 11:52
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MON 9 9
    NJD 12 12
    GOALIES: MON - CAREY PRICE
    NJD - S

    Jan 21 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 0
    NEW JERSEY 1
    1ST PRD: NJD - PAUL MARTIN 4 (PATRIK ELIAS) 11:52

    Canadiens 0, Devils 1  1st - 8:08Jan 21 7:26 PM