Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils are winning and gaining confidence. Now, they get to face a team they have not lost to in almost four years Friday night when the Montreal Canadiens visit the Prudential Center.
New Jersey (12-10-2) has won its last eight meetings with Montreal (13-8-3) dating to a 3-2 road loss on March 20, 2004. Since that defeat, the Devils have outscored the Canadiens 29-16, including 12-4 in 2006-07 to sweep the four-game season series.
New Jersey's domination of Montreal has been helped by outstanding play from Brodeur, who has a 1.98 goals-against average and a shutout while starting each game during the eight-game win streak. In 50 career games against the Canadiens, the three-time Vezina Trophy winner is 33-12-0 with five ties, a 1.74 GAA and seven shutouts.
Brodeur has been a big part of the Devils' turnaround this season, leading them to a season-high five straight wins while posting a 1.40 GAA and recording a shutout during that span. Prior to the run, New Jersey was struggling at 7-10-2 and Brodeur had a 2.74 GAA.
The Devils haven't won six consecutive games since an 11-game run to close the 2005-06 season.
"Our attitude is different. We believe we can win," Brodeur said. "We believe little hiccups during the game won't beat us."
The Devils proved that Wednesday when Brodeur allowed two first-period goals before four different players scored to complete a 4-2 comeback win over Dallas in the opener of a five-game homestand.
"We were down 2-0 after one," said Devils right wing Brian Gionta, who had a goal and an assist. "The beginning of the year we would have packed it in. It shows the confidence level of the team. We know we can win. We know we can come from behind."
Gionta, who has seven goals during the eight-game winning streak against Montreal, has also turned things around following a sluggish start. He has four goals and four assists during a season-high five-game point streak after registering only four goals and nine points in the first 19 games.
Zach Parise, the Devils' leader with nine goals and 24 points, has a team-high nine points during the five-game winning streak.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, are looking to build on Tuesday's 4-3 shootout win at Toronto.
The victory followed a sweep of the Canadiens by Buffalo in a home-and-home series last weekend, and Montreal hasn't won back-to-back games since Nov. 5-8, when it capped off a 7-1-1 stretch. The Canadiens have sputtered since with a 4-5-0 mark, but three of the wins have come away from the Bell Centre to tie them with the Devils, Philadelphia and San Jose for the league lead with eight road victories.
Alexei Kovalev, who had two power-play goals before finding the back of the net in the shootout Tuesday, has scored nine of his 12 goals in Montreal's 13 wins. He has a point in 10 of those victories.
Kovalev, though, has been held without a point in his last three meetings with New Jersey.