MONTREAL – Montreal native Martin Brodeur has dazzled in his home town throughout career and his latest gem produced a much-needed victory for the New Jersey Devils.
Zach Parise quieted the Bell Centre crowd of 21,275 with an early goal and Brodeur made 29 saves as the Devils played near-perfect hockey on the road for a 3-0 victory over the Canadiens on Thursday night.
Brodeur’s second shutout of the season stretched his career NHL record to 112.
“There’s no secret to it—I just like playing here,” said Brodeur, a native of the St. Leonard district of Montreal whose career record against the Canadiens is 39-16-5. “I won’t complain, especially how the season started for us and for me personally.
“We needed a good performance here.”
Jason Arnott and Matt Taormina also scored for the Devils (2-4-1), who ended a two-game losing run. Both their wins have been by shutout, including a 1-0 score against Buffalo on Oct. 13. Dainius Zubrus added two assists, while Arnott also had a two-point game.
The Canadiens (3-2-1) lost in regulation time for the first time since a 3-2 setback in their season opener against Toronto.
“When New Jersey gets a lead they’re hard to play against,” said Montreal coach Jacques Martin. “It was a battle in the trenches and their goaltender was solid.
“Their record is misleading. They’ve played some good games and lost. We just didn’t find ways to get the puck behind Brodeur.”
Parise said having a five-day break since the Devils’ last game, a 4-1 loss to Boston, helped because the team that has four injured defencemen was a little tired, particularly after playing one game with only 15 skaters because of salary cap issues.
“The big thing was to get some rest,” said Parise. “We had a couple of games with only three lines so it was good to get a couple of days.
“Our defence really did a good job of blocking up the front of the net and clearing rebounds. There were a lot of things we weren’t doing well that we did (do well).”
Now they hope a big road win will get them going for their next games Saturday night at home against Buffalo and Sunday against the Rangers in New York.
“I hope so, but we did the same thing against Buffalo (last week) and lost the next two,” said Brodeur. “We have a big weekend ahead of us so we wanted to get a good start on our three games in four nights.”
Montreal outshot the Devils 29-20, but the 38-year-old Brodeur was rarely tested through two periods as most shots came from far out and the defence got to the rebounds. He was sharp during two Montreal power plays in the third, and caught a break when former Devil Brian Gionta misfired with an open net.
The Devils sent three forecheckers in to take the puck from Josh Gorges behind the Montreal net and Travis Zajac fed Parise at the goalpost to sneak it past goalie Carey Price for New Jersey’s first goal 4:20 into the game.
A New Jersey power play had just ended when Arnott’s shot from the right circle went in off Montreal forward Dustin Boyd 14:59 into the second frame.
Arnott won a faceoff back to Taormina for a high floating shot that Price lost in the crowd for a goal at 3:38 of the third period.
The Devils closed down the Montreal attack, allowing for little action in a game in which the restless spectators were quiet for long stretches of play.
Montreal’s next game is Saturday night in Ottawa.
Notes: Gionta had eight shots in the game and leads the team with 26, but the new team captain has only a goal and an assist in six games. . . Tom Pyatt played on left wing with Gionta and Scott Gomez in a bid to get Montreal’s top line going and didn’t look out of place. . . Montreal scratched winger Mathieu Darche and defenceman Ryan O’Byrne. . . The Devils are plagued with injuries to rearguards Mark Fraser (hand), Anton Volchenkov (neck), Bryce Salvador (concussion) and Anssi Salmela (knee) as well as forward Brian Rolston (sports hernia).