Canadiens goalie Carey Price looks behind him after Paul Martin scored the first goal of the game Wednesday night in New Jersey. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine
It was the same old story for the Canadiens against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night as they were unable to beat them yet again, this time losing by a score of 5-2, spoiling the return of captain Saku Koivu.
The Devils have won all three games against the Canadiens this season, even without Martin Brodeur.
With the win, the Devils took over fourth place in the Eastern Conference, vaulting ahead of the Canadiens with 61 points.
The loss sends Montreal into the All-Star break on a two-game losing streak and gives the Devils a five-game winning streak.
It was a game of errors from the get go, with Paul Martin scoring on a breakaway after he was left alone behind the Canadiens defence at the end of a penalty. He came in alone on Carey Price, who was making his first start since injuring an ankle on Dec. 30, and slipped the puck between the goalie’s pads for a 1-0 lead in the first period.
The Devils grabbed a 2-0 lead when Travis Zajac score six minutes into the second period before the Canadiens finally got something going.
Josh Gorges scored his second of the season 13:56 into the second period to narrow the lead to 2-1. Gorges pounced on a rebound left by Scott Clemmensen and scored into an empty net. It was one of many rebound by Clemmensen on the night, but the Canadiens were unable to pounce on many of them.
Koivu got an assist on the goal in his first game back from an ankle injury, and Matt D’Agostini got the first of his two points on the goal as well.
But the Devils went back to work after that, scoring two more times for a 4-1 lead only two minutes into the third period.
John Oduya scored with a blistering shot near the end of the second period, one that Price never saw with a ton of traffic in front of his net.
Zach Parise, who will be in Montreal for the All-Star Game during the weekend, scored the fourth Devils goal early in the third period and it appeared as though that was it for this one.
But the Canadiens managed to make it at least a little interesting when Matt D’Agostini scored a power-play goal 7:46 into the third period to narrow the Devils lead to 4-2. The goal was originally credited to Max Pacioretty as it appeared to deflect in off his skate.
Patrik Elias scored into an empty net with the Canadiens on the power play late in the third period.