Devils 3, Canadiens 2
Steve Sullivan’s return to New Jersey earlier this month didn’t
give the Devils the energy and scoring punch they were looking for
in their failed bid for a playoff berth.
”Of course, we knew we were in a dogfight to make the playoffs
and it was going to be tough, but we thought we had a chance,”
Two days after being eliminated from postseason contention,
Sullivan had the best game since his return April 6, scoring a key
goal and adding an assist to lead the Devils to a 3-2 victory over
the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
”But that didn’t mean we were going to die,” Sullivan said of
the Devils being knocked out of playoff contention with Sunday’s
loss to the rival New York Rangers. ”Without a doubt, there’s a
lot of pride on this team. We want to win every game. We weren’t
going to just give up.”
The Devils turned to two other all-time greats to lead the way
against Montreal. Patrik Elias scored the 375th goal of his career
and long-time teammate Martin Brodeur stopped 19 shots in goal for
the 669th victory in his storied career, as the Devils played the
role of spoiler with the Canadiens trying to win the Northeast
The win was the third in the last four games for the Devils
(18-18-10), who had lost their previous 10 games prior to the
latest streak, eliminating them from playoff contention for only
the third time in the last 20 years.
The loss was the fifth in the last six games for the sputtering
Canadiens (27-14-5), who are battling Boston for top spot in the
Northeast. Both teams have 59 points, but the Bruins have a game in
”We knew that they were struggling a little bit, so we wanted
to keep them honest,” said Brodeur, who won for the 44th time in
his career against the team he rooted for as a youngster. ”We
played hard and with intensity.”
Elias’ goal came in the first period and gave the Devils an
early 1-0 lead. Jacob Josefson scored his first goal of the season,
also in the first, and Sullivan scored in the second, increasing
the advantage to 3-0.
”That’s the worst recipe to have to play these guys,”
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. ”They don’t give you a lot
of shots and they don’t give you a lot of opportunities to score.
We were on our heels from the first period on.”
Max Pacioretty and Lars Eller each scored goals in the second
period for the Canadiens, who couldn’t find the net for the tying
”We gave up two power-play goals and that’s not how we play,”
Therrien said. ”We have to do a much better job on the penalty
kill. We have to make the right decisions and we have to be
The Devils scored the first goal of the game in the first period
off a power play, when Rene Bourque was called for interference.
Just 17 seconds after Bourque went to the box, the Devils went
right to work, with Zidlicky passing to Travis Zajac, who found
Elias skating alone on Canadiens goalie Carey Price and Elias fired
a wrist shot past Price. It was the 14th goal of the season for
Elias and the 375th of his NHL career, all with New Jersey.
The Devils then got an even-strength goal with just 2:24 left.
Jacob Josefson scored his first goal of the season off a mad
scramble in front, a play where Josefson remained persistent and
poked it past Price. It was the first goal that Josefson scored
since March 29, 2012.
”I can’t really spend too much time thinking about that,” said
Josefson, who spent most of the season in Albany of the AHL. ”But
getting a goal makes you feel better about yourself and gives you
confidence. It was a nice feeling to score again and help us
New Jersey held a 2-0 lead after one period. The Devils hold a
14-1-4 record in games this season where they score first.
New Jersey then increased the lead to 3-0 on another power-play
opportunity. Sullivan scored on a deflection after Zidlicky fired
the puck at net.
”It was a great pass by Zidlicky,” Sullivan said. ”I just put
my stick down. He shot it to my stick and I was able to deflect it
Pacioretty sliced the lead to 3-1 with a power-play goal of his
own just 1:30 after Sullivan scored. The goal, Pacioretty’s 14th of
the season, gave the Canadiens some life.
Eller then sliced the lead to a single goal in the closing
seconds of the second period, when Alex Galchenyuk made a play
behind the goal and pushed a backhand pass to Eller in front with
just 14 seconds left in the period. Eller’s seventh goal of the
season made the score 3-2 heading into the final period.
But the third period was scoreless, giving the Devils the
”We just wanted to keep the game simple,” said Brodeur, who
will not play in the Devils’ last home game Thursday against
Pittsburgh, turning the netminding duties over to Johan
NOTES: The Devils gave slumping sophomore center Adam Henrique
the night off. Henrique had scored just one goal in the last 14
games, so Devils coach Pete DeBoer thought it would be best to take
”a night to just watch.” … The Devils also announced that
defenseman and captain Bryce Salvador will not play in the final
three games of the season due to an injured wrist. … Brodeur
thought about taking the night off, but wanted to play against the
Canadiens. … Elias, who will be an unrestricted free agent in the
offseason, reflected before the game that these could be his last
games with the Devils.