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Kaberle set to debut for Canadiens against Devils

by Dan Rosen /
CANADIENS (11-11-7) at DEVILS (14-12-1)


Last 10:
Montreal 3-3-4; New Jersey 5-5-0

Season series:
This is the first of four meetings between the clubs this season.

Big Story: New Canadiens defensemen Tomas Kaberle is expected to make his debut in le bleu, blanc et rouge. Kaberle was acquired from Carolina on Friday in a trade for fellow defenseman Jaroslav Spacek. He was a disappointment in 29 games with the Hurricanes this season after signing a three-year, $12.75 million contract over the summer. He had just 9 assists and a minus-12 rating.

Team Scope:

The struggling Habs are hoping Kaberle can find his game again quickly to help their listless power play, which is 1-for-36 over the last nine games, including an 0-for-4 in Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to Vancouver.

The Canadiens jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the Canucks, but gave up three goals over the final 32 minutes, including a shorthanded goal to Mason Raymond. Montreal has just one win in its last seven games (1-2-4) and has fallen into last place in the Northeast Division with 29 points.

"The move was to acquire a quarterback for our power play," coach Jacques Martin said. "The player that's supposed to fill that role right now is Andrei Markov, but he has yet to play a game this year and with his latest surgery is expected to be out until after the All-Star break.

"In the meantime, we have lots of games and if there's one area I've said time and time again that's been critical, it's been our power play. Somebody asked me (Thursday) night why we keep losing all of these games in a shootout. Well, maybe if we get some production out of our power play that's what will make the difference. That's what we're hoping Kaberle will be able to help us with."

Montreal native Martin Brodeur is expected to be back in the net after getting pulled early in Thursday's game against Ottawa. Brodeur, who has been pulled from two of his last three starts, gave up two goals on nine shots in the first period, and was replaced by Johan Hedberg at the start of the second period.

The Devils rallied for a 5-4 shootout win after initially facing a 3-0 deficit. They scored four straight goals bridging the second and third periods, but Jesse Winchester scored a shorthanded goal with five seconds left in regulation to push the game beyond 60 minutes. Rookie center Adam Henrique won the game in a shootout.

"We'll see how I feel when I get in there. But it's hard when you don't finish the game to feel good about yourself regardless of how it happens," Brodeur told Tom Gulitti of The (Bergen) Record. "I thought I made some pretty nice saves, especially on the power play. There were a couple tips behind our D and there was a one-timer in the slot, but I felt pretty good. I just have to build on what I'm able to build on to get back at it."

Who's Hot:
Henrique pushed his points streak to seven games, the most for any rookie this season, with 2 assists Thursday. He has 2 goals and 7 assists during the streak and has moved into second place on the team in scoring with 20 points in 24 games.

Injury Report:
The Devils are without defensemen Andy Greene (broken toe) and forward Cam Janssen (sternum). Defenseman Anton Volchenkov is considered day-to-day with a hand injury. … The Habs will be without captain Brian Gionta (lower body). Defenseman Chris Campoli (hamstring) has been cleared and hopes to play Saturday.

Stat Pack:
In his career against the Canadiens, Brodeur is 40-17-5 with a 1.76 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

Puck Drop: Devils center Ryan Carter told The Record that he picked up an extra minor for roughing after his third-period fight with Winchester on Thursday because he "gave him an extra shot at the end." The Devils cashed in with Dainius Zubrus' shorthanded goal to make it 3-2 Ottawa.

"It worked out," Carter joked, adding he told the team it was all part of his plan.

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