MONTREAL, PQ - The Devils are in Montreal to take on the Canadiens for the second time this month. The first meeting, on Nov. 16, resulted in a 4-3 overtime victory for New Jersey on the road.
The Devils will tweak their lineup a bit ahead of this one.
Pavel Zacha has sat out as a healthy scratch since a loss to Pittsburgh on Nov. 22, missing two games.
Zacha is returning to action tonight on the fourth line with Miles Wood and Jesper Bratt. He says he just wants to focus on his own game as he looks to make improvements.
"Just play my game," Zacha said. "I think being two-way center and I get the opportunity to play and play with good players, so… keep getting better."
It's always difficult to not see your name in the lineup, but Zacha is ready to get back after it.
"It's hard. I mean, the only thing you can do is practice hard and wait until you get back in the lineup. That's what I tried to do."
Zacha, as mentioned above, is back in as well as Jesper Bratt. Both will return to game action versus Montreal. John Hayden and Brett Seney will sit out.
Mackenzie Blackwood gets the start between the pipes.
-- Chris Wescott, NewJerseyDevils.com
DEVILS (8-11-4) at CANADIENS (11-8-5)
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+
Tonight's game is the second of three meetings between the two teams this season. Their last meeting was earlier this month, also at Bell Centre. The Devils came from behind to defeat Montreal 4-3 in overtime on a goal by Kyle Palmieri.
Last season, the Devils won all three meetings between the clubs.
Devils team scope:
The Devils are coming off a tough 3-2 loss at home to Minnesota. Overall, they have a .500 record in the month of November at 6-6-1.
Taylor Hall leads the Devils with 21 points in 23 games while Kyle Palmieri is second with 15 points in 23 games. Palmieri also leads the Devils with nine goals. Blake Coleman is second on the team with seven.
Canadiens team scope:
The Habs are winless in their last five games, dating back to when the Devils defeated them in overtime on November 16. After that loss, they lost to Columbus, then Ottawa (in OT) followed by at home to the Rangers and Bruins.
Last game, Montreal lost 8-1 at home to Boston.
Tomas Tatar leads the way for Montreal with 21 points in 24 games. Defenseman Shea Weber is second on the club with eight goals and 19 points in 24 contests.
By the Numbers:
Montreal is 10-3-2 this season when scoring the first goal of the game which is quite a bit more successful than the Devils who are 4-3-4. The Canadiens rank 31st in the NHL in penalty kill at 71.6%. They do take the third-fewest number of penalties overall in the NHL at an average of 6.6 minutes per game.
The Habs have lost only one game all year in regulation when being outshot at 3-1-4. The Devils are 5-9-1 in that situation.
Devils - Connor Carrick (fractured finger) is out; Kevin Rooney (upper body) is questionable
Canadiens - Paul Byron (knee) is day-to-day; Jonathan Drouin (wrist) is on IR