Canadiens captain Brian Gionta beats New Jersey goalie Johan Hedberg 11 seconds into Thursday’s game.
Paul Bereswill, Getty Images
• At a Glance: They scored while the ice was still wet, and
they kept scoring. The Canadiens played an excellent first two periods against
a perfectly awful host Thursday night, then coasted to the finish to beat the
New Jersey Devils 5-1. Captain Brian Gionta got this party started early,
putting the Habs in front 1-0 just 11 seconds after the opening faceoff. Lars
Eller added another 1:27 later, chasing Devils goalie Johan Hedberg, but Mike
McKenna, his replacement, fared no better, surrendering second-period goals to
Tom Pyatt, Scott Gomez and Benoit Pouliot to make it 5-0 after 40 minutes. The
Devils’ Jason Arnott, who got behind every Montreal skater, spoiled Carey Price’s bid
for his fifth shutout of the season with a goal eight minutes into the third.
• Key Moments: The two early goals pretty much broke the
back of the Martin Brodeur-less Devils.
• What It Means: The Canadiens continued their bizarre
seesaw run, having gone loss-win-loss-win-loss-win-overtime loss-win in their last eight
games. Montreal improved to 16-8-2, bouncing
back from Wednesday’s home-ice 4-3, blown-lead overtime loss to Edmonton. Now… does
Jacques Martin tamper with a dominant lineup on Saturday and immediately put
defenceman P.K. Subban, a healthy scratch Thursday, back in the lineup?
• What’s Next: It’s back to practice Friday in Brossard in advance of
Saturday’s 2 pm Bell Centre matinee against the San Jose Sharks.