The Canadiens fell behind twice in the first period and were never in the game in a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.
Montreal gave up the first goal when Kyle Palmieri tipped a Andy Greene shot right in front of Carey Price 6:26 into the game. However, Montreal fought back just 24 seconds later when Jonathan Drouin drove into the zone and fired a perfect shot past Keith Kinkaid to make it 1-1.
The Devils would continue to get chances, and eventually did re-take the lead. The combination of Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier took advantage of some sloppy defensive zone coverage (a theme of the night) to make it 2-1, a lead they would never relinquish.
Early in the second period, the Canadiens had a chance to tie the game on the power play, but in a year of subpar power play performances, they couldn’t even get good possession in the offensive zone and it looked like they were playing together for the first time.
Shortly after the penalty expired, Hall would score a goal of his own when he would be left wide open in the slot and make no mistake when given an opportunity to make it 3-1 after some pretty passing that left the Canadiens defence unsure of where the puck was until it stopped in the net. That goal would start a stretch where the Devils would score three times in just under five minutes. Pavel Zacha would get the other two goals. The first when he was left alone at the side of the net, and the second when he drove into the zone and fired a puck past Price.
In the third period, the Canadiens would come out and regain some respectability when the Devils fell back into a shell. They would come close to getting a goal when Kenny Agostino drove the net and put the puck on Kinkaid. He would make contact with the goaltender and the puck would only cross the lane when the Habs forward would push Kinkaid’s pad across the line.
Max Domi would move his point streak to 11 games later in the period, when he would fire a shot that bounced off of a Devils defender and float over everyone after Kinkaid had no idea where it was.
The Canadiens would get 26 shots on Kinkaid. Price made 23 saves for Montreal.
- Some people will blame Carey Price for this one, but let’s be real. He was the only Canadiens player to show up for most of the first 40 minutes. The last two games was a good display of why you can’t look simply at goals allowed for a goaltender.
- The third period had score effects, sure, but I thought the lines that Claude Julien put out were encouraging. The line of Agostino, Michael Chaput and Nicolas Deslauriers looked good in the small sample size. It will be interesting to see how the team lines up in Buffalo on Friday. Claude Julien wanted a better performance from his fourth line, and he got it.
- Another change was Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Phillip Danault swapping places which was intriguing as well.
- Despite a 5-2 score, the Canadiens had a goal that was disallowed, and the team missed several chances with an open part of the net. Jonathan Drouin also hit iron. The game could have been closer.
- Carey Price must be thankful that Shea Weber is returning soon.