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Devils return home to host Canadiens

by Adam Kimelman /

CANADIENS (18-5-4) AT DEVILS (13-9-6)


Last 10: Montreal 7-1-2; New Jersey 3-5-2

Season series: This is the second of three games between the teams this season. On Jan. 27, defenseman Andrei Markov scored a power-play goal with 38 seconds left in overtime to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win at Bell Centre.

Big Story: The Canadiens continue to prove their fast start was no accident -- they enter the weekend in first place in the Eastern Conference and riding a four-game winning streak. The Devils are back home after getting one point in a 2-1 shootout loss at Philadelphia on Friday to move into sixth in the East.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: It wasn't the smoothest ride to Montreal for David Desharnais, but after Friday, he'll be staying there for quite a while.

Desharnais signed a four-year contract extension with the Canadiens that reportedly will pay him $14 million. In 27 games this season, he has eight goals and eight assists.

"I'm so happy I don't know what to say," Desharnais told the Montreal Gazette. "I've played with a lot of guys down in the minors. We have a great group and we have a winning team. So I want to be a part of it. I want to be part of the success."

Those teammates were happy for Desharnais, who worked his way up from the ECHL through four seasons in the American Hockey League before becoming a full-time NHL player last season.

"Obviously it's great for Davey, but I think it's great for the organization," defenseman Josh Gorges told the Gazette. "He's earned everything. He's worked harder than anybody that I know of to get where he is today."

Devils: Despite seeing their two-game winning streak end with the shootout loss at Philadelphia, New Jersey captain Bryce Salvador was able to find a few positives.

"I think what's important is the way we played," he said. "I think we played well and we fought back and tied it up and got the point, and just fell short in the shootout. It's kind of frustrating having the game decided in the shootout, but that happens. I like the way our team played and we competed so it's going to be important to bring that effort [Saturday]."

It's another step for the Devils in rediscovering their game after a 2-7-2 stretch last month. They had won two straight before falling to the Flyers.

"Even the last two or three games that we lost before, we were doing a lot of things right, we just couldn't find the back of the net," forward Patrik Elias told "You're not going to win to many hockey games scoring just one goal. We've been doing a lot of positive things lately the last five, six games. We just have to keep it going."

Who's hot: Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has three goals and nine points in his past five games. … Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk had his five-game point streak snapped Friday, but still has three goals and six points in his past six games.

Injury report: The Canadiens are missing forwards Michael Ryder (back), Rene Bourque (concussion) and Brandon Prust (shoulder), and defensemen Raphael Diaz (concussion) and Yannick Weber (knee). … Out for the Devils is goalie Martin Brodeur (back). Forward Andre Loktionov (undisclosed) is questionable after getting hurt in the first period of the game Friday.

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