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Montréal
Canadiens
42-31-9
New Jersey
Devils
46-27-9

20 SOG
27 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
MTL
NJD
game recap

Devils 5, Canadiens 4

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:48 AM

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Even Patrik Elias is surprised at how quickly the goals and points have come.

Elias had two goals and two assists in his second game back since recovering from hepatitis to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

``I felt good,'' said Elias, who had an assist in his season debut two nights earlier. ``To be honest, I've surprised myself with how I played the last two games. The first one was harder for me. I just didn't feel as good as I did today.''

The Devils struggled to score this season without Elias, who contracted the illness while playing in Europe during the NHL lockout last year.

Against Montreal, Elias combined with linemates Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta for three goals and eight points as New Jersey won its second straight.

``It was impressive,'' Gomez said of Elias. ``That's as good as it gets. It's like he hasn't missed a beat. If anything, he's gotten stronger. It was fun to see.''

Elias sparked the Devils to a 5-2 lead that Montreal could not overcome.

``There is certainly an element of confidence that he brings to their side,'' said Canadiens coach Claude Julien. ``He certainly makes that one line become very dominant. That's what they were tonight.''

Viktor Kozlov and Brian Rafalski also scored for the Devils, and Martin Brodeur made 16 saves.

Saku Koivu, Chris Higgins, Michael Ryder and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for the Canadiens, who lost their fourth straight.

Elias and Gomez each had a goal and an assist in the opening period as the Devils took a 3-2 lead.

After Koivu opened the scoring just 11 seconds into the game, Elias tied it with a shot into the high slot to beat Jose Theodore at 1:03. Kozlov got his first goal in 15 games at 14:15, and Gomez - who had five goals and five assists in his previous four games - extended New Jersey's lead to 3-1 with a power-play score at 15:55.

Higgins, Montreal's first-round draft pick from Yale, pulled the Canadiens to within one at 17:41.

Elias got his second goal at 7:44 of the second, and Rafalski made it 5-2 just past the midpoint of the period.

Montreal cut that lead to 5-4 in the third as Ryder rifled a shot under the crossbar at 4:07 and Kostitsyn scored on a wraparound at 5:45.

``It showed that our guys aren't going to quit and that they kept battling,'' Julien said. ``I have to give our players credit for the way they battled in the third period.''

Elias missed out on a hat trick when his shot went wide of the empty Montreal net in the closing seconds.

Notes: Montreal forwards Mike Ribeiro and Pierre Dagenais were healthy scratches for a second straight game. ... Former captain Scott Stevens was a surprise visitor at New Jersey's practice on Wednesday. Stevens, who retired before training camp, will serve as an unofficial adviser and assistant coach. Stevens denied interest in the Devils' coaching job currently being filled by CEO and general manager Lou Lamoriello. ... Devils RW Alexander Mogilny cleared waivers Thursday.

scoring summary
1st Period
00:11
MTL
Saku Koivu (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Alex Kovalev (18), Francis Bouillon (9)
1 - 0 MTL
01:03
NJD
Patrik Elias (1) Slapshot - ASST: Brian Rafalski (19)
1 - 1 Tie
14:15
NJD
Viktor Kozlov (9) Slapshot - ASST: Scott Gomez (22), Zach Parise (8)
2 - 1 NJD
15:55
NJD
PPG - Scott Gomez (15) Snap shot - ASST: Patrik Elias (2), Brian Rafalski (20)
3 - 1 NJD
17:41
MTL
Chris Higgins (5) Snap shot - ASST: Jan Bulis (8), Andrei Markov (19)
3 - 2 NJD
2nd Period
07:44
NJD
Patrik Elias (2) Slapshot - ASST: Scott Gomez (23), Brian Gionta (19)
4 - 2 NJD
10:05
NJD
Brian Rafalski (4) Snap shot - ASST: Patrik Elias (3), Richard Matvichuk (8)
5 - 2 NJD
3rd Period
04:05
MTL
Michael Ryder (18) Slapshot - ASST: Chris Higgins (7), Andrei Markov (20)
5 - 3 NJD
05:45
MTL
Andrei Kostitsyn (2) Wrap-around - ASST: Richard Zednik (6), Jan Bulis (9)
5 - 4 NJD
penalty summary
1st Period
04:07
MTL
Garth Murray  Fighting (maj) against  Cam Janssen
04:07
NJD
Cam Janssen  Fighting (maj) against  Garth Murray
15:06
MTL
Alex Kovalev  Holding against  John Madden
2nd Period
12:14
NJD
Sergei Brylin  Hooking against  Radek Bonk
3rd Period
NONE
goalie stats
Jose Theodore
SA: 27TOI: 59:06
Saves: 22EV: 21 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 2
SV%: .815SH: 0 - 0
Martin Brodeur
SA: 20TOI: 60:00
Saves: 16EV: 15 - 19
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 1
SV%: .800SH: 0 - 0