BROSSARD, Quebec -- The New Jersey Devils are on a roll and will play the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday.
Patrik Elias became the second Czech Republic born player in NHL history to score 400 goals Friday in New Jersey's 4-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Devils have won three in a row, and five of their past six games.
Jaromir Jagr, the all-time Czech leading scorer, scored his 716th goal into an empty net to move within one of Phil Esposito for fifth place on the all-time list. Jagr is the fifth leading scorer all-time with 1,783 points, 15 behind Ron Francis.
"The career he's had is absolutely amazing," Montreal forward Max Pacioretty said. "I couldn't imagine, you know, without lockouts and without going to Russia, how many more points this guy would have had. And he was one of my favorite players growing up because he was on the Rangers when I was in my prime of being a Rangers fan, and a guy that I definitely idolized a lot, and it's always an honor to play against a guy like that."
Jagr, who turns 43 on Feb. 15, was on his way to winning the Stanley Cup for a second year in a row in his second season with the Pittsburgh Penguins when Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher was born in May 1992.
"That's a lot of goals," Gallagher said. "Those guys have been there for a long time and they've kind of gone through different eras of the game and they haven't been weeded out. That says a lot about the type of players that they are, that they can adapt and change their game and still be very successful and produce on a consistent basis, so it's pretty impressive what they've done."
Montreal practiced Thursday and Friday after losing for a second straight game Tuesday, 3-2 to the Buffalo Sabres.
Canadiens forward Dale Weise said the first period will be key against New Jersey if Montreal wants to take advantage of its three-day break in the schedule.
"Back-to-backs are tough no matter who you are, that's just human nature," he said. "You play back-to-back games, it's a physical League, the travel, you don't get as good of a sleep, stuff like that, so that plays into it, but that only plays into it if we use it. We've got to jump on them early. Sometimes it's almost like if you haven't played for three or four days and the other team's playing back-to-back it almost takes you a period to get into it. For whatever reason, practicing just isn't the same. So you've got to come out and get a good start because you're not really as game-sharp as you'd like to be."
Rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid will start for the Devils, who did not practice Saturday. Kinkaid made 25 saves in New Jersey's 4-2 loss to the Canadiens on Jan. 2.
Here are the projected lineups:
Dainius Zubrus - Mike Cammalleri - Jaromir Jagr
Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - Martin Havlat
Adam Henrique - Scott Gomez - Steve Bernier
Tuomo Ruutu - Jacob Josefson - Jordin Tootoo
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Jon Merrill - Marek Zidlicky
Mark Fraser - Peter Harrold
Scratched: Eric Gelinas, Michael Ryder
Injured: Stephen Gionta (fractured hand), Damon Severson (fractured left ankle), Bryce Salvador (back), Ryane Clowe (suspected concussion)
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Dale Weise
Alex Galchenyuk – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Jacob de la Rose – Lars Eller – Christian Thomas
Brandon Prust – Gabriel Dumont – Jiri Sekac
Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu – Sergei Gonchar
Alexei Emelin – Tom Gilbert
Scratched: Manny Malhotra, Michael Bournival, Mike Weaver
Injured: PA Parenteau (concussion)
Status report: Canadiens coach Michel Therrien will use the same lineup as Tuesday. Therrien reunited Desharnais with Pacioretty in the third period against Buffalo, and moved Plekanec between Galchenyuk and Gallagher. Schneider, who is 7-1-1 in his past nine starts, has never started in Montreal.
Who's hot: Cammalleri has scored four game-winning goals in his past eight games. Jagr has a three-game point streak (2 goals, 1 assist). Bernier has six goals and one assist in his past eight games. ... Desharnais has a goal and two assists in his past two games.