Devils add to Canadiens' misery with 3-1 win
MONTREAL — The New Jersey Devils scored two first-period goals and held on to a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
Nathan Bastian and Nico Hischier scored for New Jersey. Tomas Tatar added an empty-net goal against his former team.
Dawson Mercer extended his point streak to 12 games, a franchise record for skaters under the age of 22.
Akira Schmid made 23 saves as New Jersey (43-16-6) capped off its season series with a 2-2 tie.
Denis Gurianov scored Montreal’s lone goal.
Jake Allen made 34 saves. The Canadiens (26-34-6) helped their netminder by blocking 25 shots but slipped to a six-game winless skid.
The Devils opened the scoring at 8:24 of the opening frame when Bastian stole the puck away from Kaiden Guhle behind the net and surprised Allen to bag his sixth goal of the season.
New Jersey doubled the lead with just over one minute left in the first period. Damon Severson sent a centring pass for Hischier and the captain tapped in the Devils’ second of the night.
Gurianov scored his first goal as a Hab at the Bell Centre to cut Montreal’s deficit by one goal at 18:23 of the second period. Alone in the slot, the Russian accepted a pass from Rem Pitlick behind the net to notch his fourth of the campaign on a one-timer.
With under two minutes remaining, Montreal pulled their goalie. Jonathan Drouin almost gave his team the equalizer when his wrister rang off the post.
On the very next sequence, former Hab Tatar bagged the empty-netter to give the Devil a 20th win since the turn of the year.
FRANCHISE RECORD STREAK
With a secondary assist on the Devils’ second goal of the night, forward Dawson Mercer extended his point streak to 12 games. At 21 years, 133 days old, Mercer broke the franchise record for longest point streak for a skater under the age of 22.
Brendan Shanahan held the record for 23 years. The Hockey Hall of Famer was 21 years and 65 days old when he set the franchise record between March 8-29, 1990. Only four Devils players have longer point streaks: Taylor Hall (19 in 2017-18),Brian Gionta (15 in 2005-06), Patrik Elias (15 in 1999-00 & 13 GP in 2000-01) and Petr Sykora (13 in 2000-01).
The Devils return to New Jersey to host the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
The Canadiens play host to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2023.
Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press