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Hischier scores power-play goal to break tie, leads Devils over Canadiens 4-3

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — After losing two in a row and three of their last four, the New Jersey Devils played with more desperation against the Montreal Canadiens and got rewarded with something rare: a win and a power-play goal.

Nico Hischier woke up New Jersey's anemic power play by scoring with 6:27 to play and the Devils posted a 4-3 victory Saturday, sending the Canadiens to their fifth straight loss.

“We knew we were desperate for a win,” said Devils coach Lindy Ruff, whose teams was coming off embarrassing losses to Washington and the rival Rangers. “More importantly, it was going to be one game at a time. So we got that one.”

Jesper Bratt, Timo Meier and Ondrej Palat scored for New Jersey, which got a 23-save effort from Nico Daws, who was making his seventh straight start.

The Devils had to rally twice in the second period to take the game into the third tied at 2-all.

Hischier got the go-ahead goal late on a power play with Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki serving a slashing penalty.

Tyler Toffoli made a nifty pass to send Hischier in against Jake Allen and then found the back of the net despite the Montreal goaltender getting a piece of it.

“I kind of had a lot of speed so I was able to go on a breakaway and just trying to go across the crease and somewhere it went in," Hischier said of his 19th goal and only the Devils’ third on their last 48 power-play chances. “I don’t know where but it went in and that’s good.”

The Devils got a little lucky after the goal as Montreal's Josh Anderson hit a crossbar on a break. Bratt added an insurance goal three minutes after Hischier tallied and it was needed as Suzuki scored his team-high 22nd of the season and second of the game with 1:51 to play.

Brendan Gallagher also scored for the Canadians, who have lost seven of their last eight games. Allen made 20 saves for Montreal, which might have been showcasing him with the trade deadline approaching next month.

“We’re playing well and not winning which is not good enough in this league,” Canadians coach Martin St. Louis said.

After outshooting the Devils 10-5 in a scoreless first period, Montreal twice took one-goal leads in the second 20 minutes, only to see New Jersey tie the score.

Gallagher opened the scoring at 3:06 with a shot from between the circles that was set up by linemates Jake Evans and Anderson.

Meier tied the game a little more than two minutes later, tapping in a excellent pass from the sideboards by defenseman Kevin Bahl, the first of his two assists.

Suzuki got his first goal at 13:07 on a counterattack but Palat tied the game with 2:10 left in the second period, putting the rebound of a Simon Nemec shot past Allen.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to grow as a group and gain some tough experience," Gallagher said. "It’s tough to go through, and once you get out of it, you never want to be able to get back in that kind of funk. But right now we’re in it. We need to hold together. Hopefully we can come out the other end a little bit stronger.”

UP NEXT

Canadiens: Host Arizona on Tuesday night.

Devils: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

Tom Canavan, The Associated Press