Devils-Canadiens: Montreal in First Place

Francois GendronSenior Writer IMarch 1, 2008

Tonight at the Bell centre in Montreal, the Montreal Canadiens played the New Jersey Devils. At stake, first place in the Eastern Conference.

Tonight's game was a typical New Jersey Devils game. A defensive affair as both goaltenders did well in this one. The experienced Martin Brodeur for the Devils kept his team in the game all evening long while the rookie, Carey Price only allowed a single goal.

During the second period, Mark Streit opened the score for Montreal when he batted a bouncing puck behind Brodeur. This was the 12th goal of the season for Streit, his 48th point this season. The swiss player has more points than the Canadiens' captain. At $600,000 for this season, this player is probably the best bargain in the league.

The Devils tied the game before the end of the second frame when Brian Gionta found a loose puck around Carey Price and sent it into the net, tying the game at 1-1.

But the hottest line of the Canadiens worked its magic again. Before the end of a power play, Andrei Kostitsyn went around the net and surprized a kneeled Martin Brodeur. The goal was the 77th power-play goal of the season for the Canadiens, who are on top of the league in that department.

Carey Price finished the job and avoided a tying goal from New-Jersey late into the game.

Final score: Montreal Canadiens 2 - New-Jersey Devils 1.

Yes, against all odds, the Montreal Canadiens are now ranked first the Eastern conference. The vast majority of hockey analysts were dead wrong about this young and talented team before the start of the season. Many high profile hockey analysts all over North America were expecting a pitiful season for the Canadiens. Some were ranking this team as far as 13th in the conference.

But right now, the Canadiens are having the last laugh.

A serious test for the team lies ahead as the Canadiens will now fly to the west coast to play four games on the road. The San Jose Sharks, the Phoenix Coyotes, the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks will host the new Eastern Conference leaders.