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Brian Gionta scores twice, Martin Brodeur shuts door as Devils blank Habs 3-0

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Michael Rupp also scored while Brian Rafalski and Scott Gomez had two assists each for the streaking Devils (25-13-4), who have earned at least a point in seven straight games (6-0-1) and have won eight of their last 11.

Cristobal Huet made 34 saves for the slumping Canadiens (23-14-5), who have lost three straight and five of their last six games.

It was the first time this season Montreal has been shutout.

Brodeur's victory over his hometown team improved his career record against the Canadiens to 32-12-5 with seven shutouts and a 1.74 goals against average.

Brodeur, who sits third on the NHL's shutout list, moved to within seven of George Hainsworth's 94 career shutouts. The all-time leader is Terry Sawchuck with 103.

The Devils top line of Gomez, Gionta and Patrik Elias has combined for 14 goals and 22 assists over their last 11 games.

Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau's lineup was still saddled by a stomach bug that is making its way through the team. Centre Tomas Plekanec was the latest to sit out because of the bug, though captain Saku Koivu and rookie winger Guillaume Latendresse returned to the ice after missing Saturday afternoon's game.

The Canadiens were also without centre Radek Bonk, who took a puck in the face Saturday.

The injuries and illnesses forced Carbonneau to use a constantly shifting combination of forward lines, with the only consistent one being rookie Mikhail Grabovski with Alexei Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov.

The Devils took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission with goals at the beginning and the end of the first period.

Rupp opened the scoring at 2:21 when Paul Martin split the Canadiens defence before feeding him for his third goal of the season.

Gionta made it 2-0 at 19:18 when he fought off Mathieu Dandenault in front of the net to bang home a rebound for his 18th of the season.

After a scoreless second, the Devils took advantage of a double-minor high-sticking penalty handed to Michael Ryder late in the third to put the game out of reach.

Gomez crossed the Canadiens blue line and passed over to Elias who immediately fed a streaking Gionta for his 19th of the year at 12:47 of the third.

Notes: Devils D Colin White missed his seventh game with a groin injury, while defenceman John Oduya missed his second game with a shoulder injuryaCanadiens enforcer Aaron Downey was a healthy scratchaDevils D Brad Lukowich was helped off the ice in the third with blood streaming from his face after taking a high stick from Ryder. He did not return.


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