MONTREAL (AP) _ Jason Ward gave the Montreal Canadiens their latest last-minute win.
Ward scored a power-play goal with 24 seconds left in regulation Monday night and Montreal extended their season-high winning streak to five with a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.
The Canadiens won their previous two games in overtime after scoring the go-ahead goal with less than 1:00 left in a 4-2 win over Ottawa on Feb. 24.
``We found a way to win,'' Ward said. ``Earlier in the season we found a way to tie or we lost a couple of games in the last minute, but we've got some great leadership on this team and we're certainly pulling together at the right time of the year. We've just got to keep a good thing going here.''
Ward scored his third goal with New Jersey captain Scott Niedermayer in the penalty box, backhanding a rebound of Francis Bouillon's point shot past goalie Martin Brodeur.
Brodeur lost his third straight start despite making 37 saves.
``I'm not used to having that many shots but for the most part we played well,'' Brodeur said. ``I was seeing the puck really well. I gave up a few rebounds so they had second chances because of that.''
Richard Zednik scored his first goal in over a month and Jose Theodore stopped 28 shots for the Canadiens, who are 6-1 in their last seven games.
``I had fun,'' Theodore said. ``It's always fun playing a tight game. When you see the other goalie making some big saves you always put a little more pressure on yourself to do the same thing. Tonight it was fun seeing the way the game was played and it was fun being part of the win.''
Montreal, seventh in the Eastern Conference with 76 points, moved within two points of sixth-place New Jersey.
``We look at the standings but the main priority is really looking at who's behind us,'' Theodore said. ``We're trying to move up and you never know, they have two games in hand but still if we keep winning we'll be in a good spot in the end.''
Turner Stevenson scored 7:58 into the third period to tie the game. Brodeur stopped 38 shots as New Jersey lost its third in a row.
``They're a great defensive team and it was a big challenge, and we came up with two points,'' Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said.
The Devils acquired center Viktor Kozlov from the Florida Panthers before the game. Kozlov, who had 11 goals and 16 assists in 48 games with the Panthers, was obtained for forward Christian Berglund and defenseman Victor Uchevatov.
``He's a quality hockey player,'' Brodeur said. ``It's always nice when you add that to your team without losing a player that's making a huge impact right now on our hockey club. Hopefully he'll be healthy and help us out down the stretch.''
Zednik opened the scoring 4:38 into the second period with his first goal since Jan. 29. He ended a 14-game goal drought when he tipped Bouillon's point shot past Brodeur for his 20th goal of the season, moving past rookie Michael Ryder for the team lead.
Zednik was denied a second goal midway through the period despite seeing the goal judge's red light go on behind Brodeur. Zednik's shot ricocheted off the crossbar and right goalpost.
Play continued for several minutes before a break in play allowed the referees to confirm the puck had not crossed the goal line.
Stevenson tied the game with his 10th goal after Theodore was unable to hold Colin White's point shot, leaving a rebound in the slot. Devils center Jeff Friesen swatted the loose puck over to Stevenson, who shot the puck past Theodore into a wide-open left side.
Brodeur kept the Devils within reach through the first two periods, stopping 27 shots in that span, yielding only Zednik's goal.
Canadiens right wing Pierre Dagenais came close to scoring in the 14th minute of the first period, but Brodeur stopped his shot from the slot with the tip of his left pad with Montreal outshooting New Jersey 12-3 to that point.
|Richard Zednik (20) ASST: Francis Bouillon (11)|
1 - 0 MTL
|Turner Stevenson (10) ASST: Jeff Friesen (15), Colin White (9)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Jason Ward (3) ASST: Francis Bouillon (12), Pierre Dagenais (9)|
2 - 1 MTL
|Power Play %||19.3%||16.5%|
|% on Road||21.6%||10.7%|
|% at Home||17.3%||22.1%|
|Scott Niedermayer Hi-sticking against Pierre Dagenais|
|Colin White Slashing against Pierre Dagenais|
|Craig Rivet Tripping against Brian Gionta|
|Brian Gionta Diving|
|Igor Larionov Holding against Darren Langdon|
|Jay Pandolfo Tripping against Michael Ryder|
|Scott Niedermayer Roughing against Mike Ribeiro|