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The Official Site of the Montréal Canadiens

Habs exorcise Devils

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -Brian Gionta and Lars Eller scored in the first 1:38, Carey Price made 27 saves and the Montreal Canadiens beat the New Jersey Devils 5-1 on Thursday night.

Tom Pyatt, Scott Gomez and Benoit Pouliot also scored to help Montreal rebound a night after blowing a two-goal, third-period lead in a 4-3 home ice loss to Edmonton.

Jason Arnott scored for the Devils, winners of three of four coming in. New Jersey lost for the first time in five games at home.

Gionta needed only 11 seconds to give Montreal the lead, tucking the rebound of Roman Hamrlik's shot past Johan Hedberg, getting a fifth straight start while Martin Brodeur recovers from a bruised elbow.

Eller quickly followed with a wraparound goal, circling behind the Devils net to slip the puck inside the right post. Hedberg, beaten on two of the three shots he faced, was then replaced by Mike McKenna.

Montreal almost had a third tally in the period when Tomas Plekanec was awarded a penalty shot at 7:27 after being hooked down Devils defenseman Matt Corrente.

Plekanec swung far to his right on the penalty shot before cutting back toward the goal. He snapped off a shot that McKenna deflected with his glove.

Highlights from the Canadiens-Devils game

Montreal did get the third goal when Tom Pyatt got his first of the season at 2:30 of the second.

The Canadiens added two more in the period for a 5-0 lead.

Gomez, a former Devils star like Gionta, roofed a rebound over McKenna for a power-play goal at 2:30. Pouliot padded the advantage at 9:57.

Price was sharp late in the period as both Hamrlik and Eller were whistled for tripping penalties at 17:06, giving the Devils a 5-on-3 power play for a full 2 minutes. New Jersey peppered the net with shots with Patrik Elias getting off two from close range. Price held firm and the Canadiens skated off with a commanding lead as the Prudential Center crowd booed the Devils at the end of the period.

In the third, Price lost the shutout bid when Arnott, bedridden earlier in the week with food poisoning, deflected in a feed from Elias at 8:18.

NOTES: The Devils, hit by injuries, are finally starting to get healthy. Captain Jamie Langenbrunner returned after missing eight games with a neck injury. Corrente was back after missing two games because of a shoulder injury. ... It was the first time the Gionta brothers squared off. Brian Gionta is Montreal's captain. Stephen Gionta made his NHL debut for the Devils on Nov. 5. ... The game was the second of four between the teams this season. New Jersey won 3-0 at Montreal on Oct. 21.

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