"It would seem that the only way for the Habs to win is when their goaltenders are the No. 1 star."
The final sentence of the Buffalo game review seems an appropriate place to start. Carey Price wasn't a game star and the Canadiens lost to the Devils. Price mishandled a rising shot late in the second period that tied the game.
For Price-haters, it will be the only moment that they remember in the game. Conveniently forgotten will be his 25 saves and that Price was the better of the two goalies on the ice. Goaltending was the least of Jacques Martin's concerns tonight, and most nights.
While the Canadiens played the Devils rather even for the first two periods, they could not sustain the effort in the third period.
New Jersey took control of the game and outshot Montreal 10-to-3. The Habs had difficulty moving the puck out of their own zone and lost most battles for the puck.
For some players like Tomas Plekanec, Jaroslav Spacek, and Josh Gorges, fatigue was an issue in the third. They were warriors who had spent too much time penalty killing.
For others such as Max Lapierre, Matt D'Agostini, and Georges Laraque, they were simply not prepared to compete.
Even with Glen Metropolit seeing limited ice-time for his undisciplined play over the past two games, other Canadiens were busy taking penalties.
The Devils took one penalty to the Canadiens' five. Of particular concern was another "too many men" penalty. Should line changes still be a problem in Game 35?
The Habs were also down to five defensemen when Roman Hamrlik injured his knee while falling awkwardly in the second period.
Coach Martin moved Marc-Andre Bergeron alongside Spacek. The experiment was a failure with Bergeron leaving Patrik Elias all alone for the winning goal.
Mike Cammalleri deserves his share of the burden for the loss as well. While he has excelled at home with 14 goals and a plus-10 rating, Cammalleri has just four goals on the road and is minus one.
Ryan O'Byrne led the Canadiens in blocked shots with three and Andrei Kostitsyn had the most hits with four. Scott Gomez was the only Habs player above the 50 percent mark on face-offs.
While their style was sleep-inducing at times, it was the Devils who were patient, more disciplined, and better coached.
"It was kind of boring, but it was a big win," Brodeur said. "We were playing a team (that's) not doing really well right now so they are trying to keep it simple. They really didn't do much out there, and they didn't give us many opportunities."
The Canadiens return home to play the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Rocket's Three Stars
1. Patrik Elias
2. Travis Moen
3. Zach Parise
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