Yes, there is something in the air; the Montreal Canadiens have defeated the New Jersey Devils on their own ice, a thing that the Habs haven’t done since February 5, 2002.
Before the start of the game yesterday, Montreal had a record of 1 win, 21 losses, and 4 ties in their last 26 games to the Devils’ on home ice.
And the first period of this winning game was evocative of the last 26 dismal meetings. The Devils dominated Montreal and took a 1-0 lead with Patrick Elias’ first goal of the game. Elias scored again early into the second period and doubled the Devils lead. At this point, nothing special: the Devils led the Habs as usual.
Bryan Smolinski opened the score for Montreal before the end of the second period, but the team allowed another goal to the Devils as Jamie Langenbrunner put one past Habs’ goaltender Cristobal Huet. The Devils led 3-1 after two periods.
But the third period belonged to the Habs. Montreal registered 20 shots on Martin Brodeur’s net while New Jersey only managed to shoot three times on Huet’s goal.
Smolinski scored his second goal of the game early into the third period to reduce the Devils lead to just a single goal. Then Saku Koivu tied the game at 3-3 halfway into the third when he deflected a high shot from the blue line. Christopher Higgins completed the comeback when he sent a loose puck behind Brodeur for the winning score.
Final score: Montreal Canadiens 4—New Jersey Devils 3
Yes, there is something special going on with the Canadiens this season. The team was able to come back from a two-goal deficit against the Devils; not one of the past five editions of the team was able to do this.
The team is pacing steadily toward the playoffs, and could have more surprises in store throughout the rest of the season. Montreal is only six points behind the powerful Ottawa Senators.
The team will have four days of rest for the All Star game break before hosting the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.