Recap: Devils @ Canadiens 10.24.23

MONTREAL -- Tyler Toffoli scored three goals for the New Jersey Devils in a 5-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Toffoli scored his third goal into an empty net with 26 seconds remaining to complete his fifth NHL hat trick.

Jack Hughes had four assists, and Vitek Vanecek made 27 saves for New Jersey (3-1-1), which went 2-for-4 on the power play.

“I was joking with [Hughes] after the game, saying that we didn’t do a lot in the first, that we were both frustrated,” Toffoli said. “Obviously we laughed it off, but the way that he can just take over a game and just make small little plays and back guys off it, it makes the game so much easier for myself and everybody on the team.”

NJD@MTL: Toffoli completes a hat trick

The Devils are 11-for-25 with the man-advantage and lead the NHL with a 44.0 percent success rate.

“It’s something that we’ve worked hard [at], but I think our guys have matured,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “... We know there’ll be a few games where maybe it doesn’t click, but I think you’ve got the saying, you’ve got to make hay when the sun is shining.”

Justin Barron scored for a second straight game for Montreal (3-2-1), and Cayden Primeau made 29 saves in his season debut.

“I thought [Primeau] played a good game, he gave us a chance,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “That’s a whirlwind offense he faced, he hasn’t played a lot. He played a good game.”

NJD@MTL: Primeau dives to make a save on Palat

Barron gave Montreal a 1-0 lead at 5:49 of the first period, converting on a rebound from a low angle off a Michael Pezzetta shot.

Alexander Holtz tied it 1-1 at 13:24 with a backhand under Primeau’s right pad during a scramble in front of the net.

Toffoli put the Devils ahead 2-1 at 18:22 of the second period with a wrist shot off a pass by Hughes after the Canadiens turned the puck over in their end.

Nico Hischier made it 3-1 with a power-play goal 34 seconds into the third period, and Hughes got his third straight assist when Toffoli scored another power-play goal to increase the lead to 4-1 at 7:17.

“We just find ways to stick with it,” Toffoli said. “We score big goals, have great momentum with our power play. It’s going a long way for us.”

NJD@MTL: Hischier sends home a wrist shot for PPG

Mike Matheson made it 4-2 at 10:35 with an end-to-end rush while Montreal was playing 6-on-4 with Primeau pulled for an extra attacker.

“We didn’t quit, we fought, so to me, that’s a really good habit, because if you quit, you guarantee one thing, you’re not going to get what you want,” St. Louis said. “If you don’t quit, you keep pushing, you don’t guarantee that you’re going to get what you want. But if you quit, you guarantee that you’re not going to get what you want. So, I’m happy about that.”

NOTES: It was the second time Hughes has had four points in a game this season (two goals, two assists against the New York Islanders on Oct. 20). He has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in five games, the most by a Devils player through that span in franchise history. He has points in 13 consecutive regular-season games dating back to March 30. ... Hughes matched the fewest games by an active player to reach 10 assists in a single season, tying Evgeny Kuznetsov (5 GP in 2017-18, Washington Capitals), and the most points by a United States-born player through his team’s first five games of a season, (Kevin Stevens, 1990-91, Pittsburgh Penguins). ... The Devils scored their 10th power-play goal, marking the most through the first five games of a season in their history. … Dougie Hamilton has six points (three goals, three assists) during a five-game point streak to begin the season for the Devils. He became the 12th player in franchise history, and second defenseman (Ty Smith, 2020-21), to post a stretch of at least that length to start a season. … Canadiens defenseman David Savard did not play and will be out for 6-8 weeks. He broke his left hand during a 3-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.