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New Jersey Devils vs. Montr?al Canadiens

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GAME: New Jersey Devils (38-22-12-2) at Montreal Canadiens (39-26-7-3).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Montreal Canadiens get another chance to move into a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference as they complete a home-and-home series with the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens have been one of the league's hottest teams, losing just once in regulation in the last 13 games (10-1-1-1) while gaining points in six straight (5-0-1-1).

The teams opened the home-and-home with a 1-1 tie at Continental Airlines Arena on Friday, keeping Montreal two points back of sixth-place New Jersey.

Jay Pandolfo scored for the Devils, who can earn a postseason berth with either a win or tie, or a tie or loss by Buffalo, which visits Florida on Saturday.

Yanic Perreault scored for the Canadiens, who are three points shy of clinching a playoff spot.

The Devils also trail the Philadelphia Flyers by four points for the Atlantic Division lead. New Jersey has played two fewer games than the Flyers.

On Friday, Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer had two chances in the closing seconds of overtime to give goaltender Martin Brodeur his 400th win, but was denied by Mathieu Garon on the first opportunity and by the goal post on his second.

"It would have been nice to score there," Niedermayer said. "The second one hit the post. The first one I kind of shot back into him."

Brodeur is trying to become the eighth goaltender to win 400 games, and the youngest at 31.

Beginning a four-game road trip, the Devils are looking to extend their unbeaten streak to four games, which will be their longest since a five-game run (4-0-1) from Dec. 4-13.

STANDINGS: Devils - 90 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Atlantic Division. Canadiens - 88 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Patrik Elias, 34 goals and 66 points; Scott Gomez, 47 assists; Colin White, 85 PIM. Canadiens - Richard Zednik, 25 goals; Mike Ribeiro, 41 assists and 61 points; Darren Langdon, 135 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 19): Devils - Power play: 15.2 percent (41 for 270), 19th. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (203 for 240), 10th. Canadiens - Power play: 18.4 percent (54 for 294), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.9 percent (230 for 281), 25th.

GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (34-23-11, 10, 2.02); Scott Clemmensen (2-1-0, 1, 1.35. Canadiens - Jose Theodore (31-24-5, 6 SO, 2.17 GAA); Garon (8-5-2, 0, 2.34).

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 19; Tie, 1-1, OT. At New Jersey, Brodeur finished with 30 saves and gave credit to his rival, while Garon finished with 29.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 18-10-7-1 on the road; Canadiens - 21-11-4-1 at home.


Associated Press
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