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At the Rink blog

Canadiens' focus on defensive play has paid off

Monday, 12.02.2013 / 1:06 PM

By Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The New Jersey Devils have historically been a team known for their ability to slow the play down and shut down the opposition, no matter their offensive strength.

But of late, it is their opponents Monday night, the Montreal Canadiens, who have been the defensive juggernauts.

The Canadiens enter the game Monday at Bell Centre having allowed two goals or fewer in 10 straight games, riding a 7-1-2 record over that span.

"We're focusing on playing solid defensively and taking time and space away. It's the same thing with any team," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "Right now we have a healthy lineup and there's a healthy internal competition. I think it's good. But we want to be a team that dictates the game, and this is what we've been doing. The guys, with their work ethic, are doing a good job at it."

Carey Price, the starter in goal Monday for the Canadiens, has been a big reason for that defensive excellence, starting seven of those 10 games.

"We've had a good penalty kill and played some good defense, but I think a lot of the credit has to go to our goalies," Montreal center Lars Eller said. "We've been good at not allowing goals in this year, usually that's going to carry you far."

The Devils will counter in goal with Martin Brodeur, who has a 19-8-1 record with a 1.62 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in 29 career games at Bell Centre.

Here are what the lines likely will look like for the Canadiens and Devils:

DEVILS

Dainius ZubrusTravis ZajacJaromir Jagr

Adam HenriquePatrik EliasSteve Bernier

Damien BrunnerAndrei LoktionovMichael Ryder

Tim SestitoJacob JosefsonCam Janssen

Andy GreeneMark Fayne

Eric GelinasJon Merrill

Anton VolchenkovMarek Zidlicky

Martin Brodeur

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Mattias Tedenby, Peter Harrold

Injured: Adam Larsson, Stephen Gionta, Bryce Salvador, Ryane Clowe

CANADIENS

Daniel BriereTomas PlekanecBrian Gionta

Max PaciorettyDavid DesharnaisBrendan Gallagher

Rene BourqueLars EllerAlex Galchenyuk

Travis MoenBrandon PrustMichael Bournival

Andrei MarkovP.K. Subban

Josh GorgesAlexei Emelin

Douglas MurrayRaphael Diaz

Carey Price

Peter Budaj

Scratched: George Parros, Ryan White

Injured: Davis Drewiske

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday