Game 32 Preview: New Jersey Devils at Montreal Canadiens


The Time: 7:00 PM EDT

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+, Radio - 970 AM WNYM

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (15-13-1) at the Montreal Canadiens (13-12-7).

The Last Devils Game: Scott Niedermayer night. The third number retired for the New Jersey Devils franchise. Even after falling behind twice in the game there was a tenacity to the Devils game that made it seem like there was no way they were going to lose. On a night that saw two former captains in the house, Devils captain Zach Parise led the team back with amazing work ethic. Perhaps it was the return of his buddy Travis Zajac or it was the jersey retirement. Whatever it was, Parise was in beast mode last night. Having a hand in the first 3 goals, he and his linemates Adam Henrique and Ilya Kovalchuk are playing outstanding and the Devils have now won 3 straight games. This despite the Devils having a depleted defensive corps that saw Henrik Tallinder a late scratch because of back spasms which put a heavy burden on Mark Fayne, Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov. Moose Hedberg made some key saves when he needed to and although he didn't look great and got bailed out by some nice defensive plays (think Salvador hand save). With a barrage of 4 goals in the second period the Devils posted a 6-3 victory. You can read more about the Devils victory via John's recap here. For the Dallas Star viewpoint visit our friends over at Defending Big D.

The Last Canadien Game:The Canadiens went up against the depleted Philadelphia Flyers, who despite learning that captain Chris Pronger would be out for the season with post-concussion symptoms, went into Montreal and won their 7th straight game over the Habs 4-3. A tie game at 3-3 going into the third period saw Andrei Meszaros add the winning goal. If you are looking for a reason why the Habsfell in this game look at their power play. With multiple two-man advantages, they ended up a pitiful 1/9 on power play opportunities. Check out Habs Eyes on the Prize for more on that game.

The Last Devils-Canadiens Game: A comeback that wasn't meant to be. Despite having a penalty shot attempt by Zach Parise in the final minute of regulation (it failed) the Devils couldn't climb their way out of a 2-0 hole against the Canadiens in a game last Saturday afternoon at the Rock. It was an all too familiar scenario for New Jersey Devils fans. The team was outshooting and outchancingthe opposition with little on the scoreboard to show for it. The Parise penalty shot in the final moments of the game came at the tail end of a late barrage of activity from New Jersey that nearly tied the game. Carey Price made the big saves when he had to and the Canadiensescaped the Rock with the 2-1 victory. John's recap fo that game can be read here, while the opposition's recap, by Kevin Van Steendelaar can be read here.

The Goal:Watch for the emotional letdown. With the crowd, the ceremonies, the former Devil greats in the house, it would be easy for the Devils to come out a bit flat. Luckily they are heading on the road to play the Canadiens, a team whose crowd will help the Devils realize they will quicly need to match the Montreal intensity. Coming off of a late night and the emotions involved it will be interesting to see how the Devils start the game off.

For the opposition's point of view, please check out Habs Eyes on the Prize.

I have some additional things I will be looking for that I will go over after the jump.

Look out for the Millenium Line Montreal: Last week vs Montreal Petr Sykora, Patrik Elias and Danius Zubrus spent a lot of time in the Montreal zone. Sykora was a +14 and Elias/Zubrus were +11 in Corsilast week and if they can duplicate that effort, with the way the top line of Parise, Kovalchuk and Henrique are playing the Devils should be in a good position to tilt the ice towards Carey Price and the Montreal defensive zone. After being in the right place/right time when he scored last night's goal, I think we might see a couple of good chances for Petr Sykora.

Speed Kills: Or so John Madden (the former NFL announcer) once said. Montreal, even without Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez, is still a quick team. If Henrik Tallinder is still unable to play, the Devils will ice youngsters Adam Larsson and Alexander Urbom along with journeyman Kurtis Foster on their defense. It's imperative the Devils defenders make the high percentage play, chipping pucks out of the zone and not trying to force plays up the ice. Turnovers in this game will quickly turn into a Montreal scoring chance.

Speaking of the defense Salvador played over 26 minutes last night. Anton Volchenkov will have to be more careful and not take any bad penalties because if Tallinderis out, it really puts too much minutes on Salvador's back. Speaking of ice-time Kurtis Foster played over 15 minutes of even-strength time and I didn't really notice him. I would even go out on the limb that he has played well since he got here. Are my eyes deceiving me?

Road Warriors: With tonight's game the Devils will be playing their 19th road game out of the 32 games this year. They are 10-8 so far on the road, and a mark of a good team is always at least splitting their games on the road. If the Devils can get a little better at home, those extra home games in the second half of the season will be helpful in the playoff hunt. From a financial/attendance standpoint, I wonder if the Devils lobbied for more road games early based on their attendance patterns. It also struck me odd that the Devils had a large gap of games and home games in October right around the time the New York Yankees could have been playing in the playoffs. Perhaps it's just coincidence.

PSE&G Powerless Play:I really don't know what to say about the power play anymore. I am not seeing much more zone time with Foster in the fold. This is the one area right now that the Devils need to finally find some consistency and if they can they could easily go on a 6-7 game winning steak.

The Wait, What? Website to Check Out: Go to http://canadiens.nhl.com/index.html. Maybe it's me but isn't the intro image with the split screen/split player's face highly comedic? Who thought this was a good idea? Judging by the recent trade for Tomas Kaberle, I am guessing it was Pierre Gauthier.

So what are your thoughts on tonight's game? Will the Devils be emotionally spent after last night? Can the Devils exact revenge for last week's loss? Sound off below and thanks for reading.

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