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Brodeur leads improved Devils into Montreal

by John Kreiser
DEVILS (18-30-4) at CANADIENS (30-18-5)


Last 10 -- New Jersey 7-1-2; Montreal 6-2-2

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the third time this season, with the road team winning the first two. Montreal native Martin Brodeur shut out his hometown team 3-0 on Oct. 21; the Canadiens got some revenge with a 5-1 win at New Jersey on Dec. 2. They don't see each other again until the Canadiens come to Newark on April 2.

Big story -- The Canadiens go for a 4-0-0 start after the All-Star break as they host New Jersey in their annual Super Bowl Sunday afternoon game. The Habs made it 3-for-3 after the break by blanking the New York Rangers 2-0 on Saturday behind a 35-save performance by Carey Price. The Devils have climbed out of last place in the overall standings with an 8-1-2 spurt, though they wasted a third-period lead in Friday's 4-3 overtime loss to Florida.

Team Scope:

Devils -- Over the last three weeks, the Devils have looked more like the team that hasn't missed the playoffs since 1996, except on the power play. The extra-man unit not only came up empty against Florida on Friday, but allowed a game-tying shorthanded goal. The power play is 0-for-10 in the last four games and 6-for-56 since Jacques Lemaire returned as coach on Dec. 23.

"We're not doing well on the power play and we can feel it," Lemaire said after the loss to Panthers. "Guys are going on like it's two minutes of relaxation. That's not how you look at a power play. You've got to go on and if you want the power play to be successful everyone has to work."

Canadiens -- Scott Gomez is going for a sweep of his former teams. The veteran center was instrumental in Saturday's win against the Rangers, breaking a scoreless tie late in the second period by picking Alexandre Picard's missed shot off the end boards and roofing a rolling puck. It was the only goal of the game until Tomas Plekanec hit the empty net.

"We can't be that satisfied," he told the team's website. "When you have the lead, you can't sit back. We'll take the two points because we know how big it is, but at the same time, there's some stuff we need to clear up and tomorrow's a big game.

Gomez began his career with the Devils and was a member of the 2003 Stanley Cup championship team before signing with the Rangers in the summer of 2007. He was dealt to the Canadiens two years later.

Who's hot -- Brian Rolston has 9 points in New Jersey's last eight games. Brodeur is 7-1-1 in his last nine starts and hasn't allowed more than three goals in any of those games. … Price has won his last two starts, stopping 64 of 66 shots.

Injury report -- New Jersey is missing defensemen Matthew Corrente (shoulder), Matt Taormina (ankle) and Bryce Salvador (concussion) and forward Zach Parise (knee). … Montreal defenseman James Wisniewski sat out Saturday's game with the flu. Forward Mike Cammalleri (shoulder) is still out, and defensemen Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges are out for the season with knee injuries.

Stat pack -- The Devils have won 17 of the 22 meetings between the teams since the start of the 2005-06 season, including nine of 11 and five in a row in Montreal.

Puck drop -- Not surprisingly, Brodeur will be in goal for the Devils -- he has a 39-16-5 with a 1.75 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and nine shutouts in his career against his hometown team. The wins and shutouts are the most he's had against any non-division rival. At Bell Centre, Brodeur is 16-8-1 with a 1.52 GAA, .945 save percentage and five shutouts, including the 3-0 win in October.

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