Devils-Canadiens Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 18, 2012
Devils_goalie_brodeur_9052
The New Jersey Devils continue to roll behind Martin Brodeur's tremendous play. They're surely feeling good about keeping things going with a visit to Brodeur's native Montreal in store. The Devils look to extend their winning streak at the Bell Centre to eight as they conclude their season series with the Canadiens on Sunday night. New Jersey (33-20-4) has climbed into sixth place in the Eastern Conference thanks to a 7-1-1 run. While the Devils have converted nine of their 32 chances on the power play (28.1 percent) over that stretch, its been Brodeur who's shined brightest. The NHL's all-time leader in wins, shutouts and games played has started all but one of those contests, going 6-1-0 with a shutout and a 1.82 goals-against average. "There's been no quit in this team since the beginning of January," Brodeur told the team's official website. "They just keep battling. There are a lot of guys with star power and there's an awful lot of no-names who are working their tail off and doing a heck of a job." Brodeur came up big again Friday, making 36 saves during a 3-2 shootout win over Anaheim. "I don't mind a 5-1 win, but the tight games are fun too. You have to challenge yourself to kind of make big plays at the right time in a big game, You want to be out there when everything is on the line," said the 39-year-old veteran. "Maybe if I keep playing like that, I won't retire." Unfortunately for the Canadiens (24-25-10), they know all too well of Brodeur's stifling ways. He's gone 42-18-0 with five ties lifetime in this series while posting a 1.81 GAA - his lowest career mark against any opponent. New Jersey has won 11 of 13 at Montreal - including seven in a row while outscoring the Canadiens 23-9. The Devils, however, could have their hands full with a Canadiens team that's improved of late. Hours after sending assistant captain Hal Gill to Nashville, Montreal improved to 5-1-1 over its last seven games with Friday's 4-3 shootout win at Buffalo. "We've got to continue to go here. We don't have time to look at it and reflect," said defenseman P.K. Subban, who played a game-high 28:48 following Gill's departure. "We've got a long way to go." The Canadiens are one of a handful teams vying for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East but seem to be getting hot at just the right time. "This time of year, I think we're buying in to the fact that we're gonna be up against desperate teams. So how do you counter that? You have to be desperate yourself," interim coach Randy Cunneyworth said. "There's so much at stake here for everybody and every team we're playing has so much at stake as well. "The intensity, not only on the ice but in the dressing room (and) on the bench, is very evident right now. Guys are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish what we're trying to accomplish." Carey Price, who made 27 saves Friday, has compiled a 1.95 GAA and posted two shutouts while starting each of the teams last seven contests. Price turned away 28 shots in a 2-1 road win over the Devils on Dec. 10 but has surrendered nine goals in losing the last two matchups in this series. New Jersey's Zach Parise has tallied 13 goals and eight assists in his last 21 meetings with Montreal. He scored twice during a 5-3 home win Feb. 2.
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