Posted December 17, 2011 on AP on Fox
The New Jersey Devils' only loss in their last six games came at home against the Montreal Canadiens, but it's been a different story when they've visited the Bell Centre recently. Coming off their highest-scoring game of the season, the Devils visit the Canadiens on Saturday night looking to win their fourth straight overall and seventh consecutive game in Montreal. After losing four straight from Nov. 26-Dec. 3, New Jersey has won five of six. The Devils made it three in a row with a 6-3 victory over Dallas on Friday. New Jersey (17-13-1) rallied for a second straight game. After Dallas made it 2-1 early in the second period, the Devils scored three goals before the intermission. It was the third time in five games the Devils scored at least five times, but the first time they'd scored six since Jan. 9. Zach Parise had one goal and three assists while Ilya Kovalchuk scored the go-ahead goal and added an assist. Parise has four goals in the last five games after recording just one in the previous 12. "That's the way it should be,'' said Kovalchuk, who has six goals in the last nine games. "He's too good a player to not get his share of points. Especially with Travis (Zajac) back now, and we have some depth, we should be able to continue this.'' Zajac, who had 13 goals and 31 assists last season, played for the first time this season after missing 30 games because of an Achilles' tendon injury sustained in the offseason. While their offense is rolling, the Devils couldn't get much going in a 2-1 loss against the Canadiens last Saturday. They had 13 shots in the first period, but 16 over the final two as both Parise and Kovalchuk were held without a point. Martin Brodeur, who started that game, is expected to be back in net in his hometown after Johan Hedberg started Friday. Brodeur is 7-8-0 with a 3.09 goals-against average this season, but has won his last five visits to Montreal while posting a 0.91 GAA. New Jersey has won six straight overall in Montreal and 10 of its last 12, outscoring the Canadiens 31-18. Parise has a five-game point streak there. That could be bad news for the Canadiens (13-12-7), who are trying to improve on their poor home record. A 4-3 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday dropped Montreal to 5-6-6 at the Bell Centre this season. Erik Cole stayed hot, scoring in a fourth straight game to increase his team-leading total to 12. He had a goal and an assist in the win over the Devils last week. "We can't seem to go on a run and string together some wins in the way other teams are doing," Cole said. "It's important for us to have better starts and gain the momentum." Another problem the Canadiens have is a struggling power-play unit, which is one of the league's worst even after scoring in three straight games. They capitalized once on a season-high nine power-play opportunities Thursday. Montreal has 16 goals in 132 power-play opportunities (12.1 percent) - third-worst in the league. It's unlikely to be helped against New Jersey, which has the NHL's top penalty-kill unit at 93.1 percent. The Devils did give up one goal in five chances last Saturday, but they've surrendered just one in 19 chances in their last six visits to Montreal.
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