The Devils victimized the Canadiens, the NHL’s top penalty killers, for a power-play goal with 7.3 seconds remaining in overtime for a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night. Patrik Elias scored the winner as the Devils improved to 19-1 with four ties in their last 24 home games against Montreal.
Scott Gomez won a faceoff from Radek Bonk in the Montreal zone late in the extra session. Gomez nudged the puck to Elias, who sent it back to defenseman Brian Rafalski. Elias scrambled out to the point to take Rafalski’s pass and beat David Aebischer with a shot under the crossbar.
“It was a good draw win by Scotty,” Elias said. “It took a couple of good passes to set me up for the one-timer.”
The power-play occurred when Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray hooked Johnny Oduya with 12 seconds remaining.
“That’s a penalty I would take 100 times out of a 100,” Souray said. “I was trying to catch up to a 3-on-2 and get the guy’s hands enough so he doesn’t have a free shot.”
While Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau didn’t question the penalty, he wasn’t happy with what followed.
“Aebischer was really good tonight but I was more disappointed with the way we played in overtime,” Carbonneau said. “I have no problem with the penalty but I do with the reaction on the faceoff.”
Zach Parise scored with 5:48 left in regulation for the Devils, 10-1-1 at home.
Bonk scored for the Canadiens, who lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
On the tying goal, Gomez carried the puck through three zones before firing a shot at the Montreal net. While Devils forward Brian Gionta was tangled up with Souray, Parise pounced on the puck in the slot and scored his 10th goal.
The Devils took advantage of Montreal’s passive play in the final period as the Canadians tried to preserve the slim lead.
“They sat back a lot,” Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. “We kept taking it to them. We had a lot better chances late in the game than what they got.”
Montreal took a 1-0 lead 4 minutes in on a seemingly harmless dump-in to the New Jersey zone. Neither Brodeur nor defenseman David Hale handled it cleanly. That cleared the way for Alexander Perezhogin to backhand a centering pass to the slot, where Bonk tipped it in.
The goal came shortly after the Canadiens fought off two penalties that included 53 seconds of a 5-on-3 disadvantage.
The Devils outshot Montreal 13-6 in the opening period when they had three power plays.
The scoreless second period was tightly played, with the Canadiens holding a 7-4 shots advantage. Gionta hit the left post on New Jersey’s best chance to pull even with just under 6 minutes remaining in the frame.
Notes: Brodeur made his 19th straight start despite cutting a finger in practice on Tuesday. … D Richard Matvichuk is close to making his first appearance for the Devils following offseason back surgery. … The Canadiens will conclude a two-day visit to the New York area when they play the Islanders on Thursday.