Game 52: No joke: Habs beat Devils in N.J.

Travis Moen congratulates Canadiens teammate Benoit Pouliot on his first-period goal.
Ray Stubblebine, Reuters

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• AUDIO: Benoit Pouliot | Mike Cammalleri | Mathieu Darche | Jaro Halak | Tomas Plekanec | Jacques Martin

At A Glance: The Canadiens skated into a building that’s usually a black hole, but left the Prudential Centre with a hard-fought 3-1 win over (can you believe it?) Martin Brodeur’s New Jersey Devils, their first victory here in nearly two years. Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves to outduel the Canadiens’ prime goaltending nemesis.

What It Means: The rollercoaster ride continues – with the victory, the Canadiens leap over the idle Atlanta Thrashers to take over 10th place in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Philadelphia Flyers with 53 points, but having played three more games.

How They Scored: New Jersey’s Zach Parise beat Halak between the legs to open the scoring at 5:16 of the first period. Scoring machine Benoit Pouliot, with his 11th of the season, converted a nice pass from Scott Gomez at 16:10 to send the teams to their dressing rooms tied 1-1. Montreal callup Mathieu Darche scored his first Canadiens goal, tipping home a Brian Gionta shot at 4:35 the second period – it was a frame that put more than a few to sleep – giving the Habs a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Michael Cammalleri completed the scoring at 11:53 of the third, Darche feeding Andrei Markov whose typically perfect pass found the won’t-miss stick of Cammalleri.

Key Moments: Darche’s goal and assist, and generally, the Habs beating Brodeur, who came into the game with a sick lifetime record of 37-15-5 against Montreal.

What’s Next: The Canadiens return home immediately and prepare to face the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre Saturday night.

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