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1/22-- Devils Game Preview

By: Brian Deakyne

Montreal Canadiens (23-23-5) at New Jersey Devils (33-14-1)

Previous Meetings: In the two meetings between the Devils and Canadiens in 2009-2010, late goals seemed to be the achillies heel for Montreal. Back on December 16th at the Prudential center, Patrik Elias scored the go-ahead and game winning goal with 2:36 remaining in the game. On January 9th, it was Zach Parise who scored the overtime winner as New Jersey would defeat Montreal 2-1, again.

How They've fared: Devils: After snapping a three-game losing streak on a road trip that was more than forgettable, the Devils improved to 33-14-1 in a 2-0 win over the Panthers on Wednesday night. Martin Brodeur earned his 30th win and seventh shutout, stopping 22 shots from Florida, while Travis Zajac notched his 14th goal of the season to push Jersey's Team past the boys from Florida.

How They've Fared: Canadiens: For the people in Montreal, things could get better. Dropping four of their last five, the Canadiens have dropped out of playoff position, into 9th place and will need to play impressively down the stretch in order to make the postseason.

What to Watch: Devils: It should be interesting to see three things for New Jersey tonight:
1) If Brodeur can stay on top of his game as he was on Wednesday, the Devils will be hard to beat, regardless of how they do offensively. He is still widely considered as the most talented goalie in the game today, and has proven it recently.
2) The amount of ice time seen by Patrick Davis and Nick Palmieri. Davis and Palmieri both saw significant time on Wednesday, and both made impacts. Davis drew the second power play of the game for New Jersey and Palmieiri tallied an assist on Zajac's goal.
3) The struggling power play. New Jersey's power play has hit quite a slump (0-21 over the last seven games), and is an element that can jump-start the offense. The Devils will look to get it going anytime they have the man advantage, and will look to utilize Zach Parise even more now, with Elias on IR.

What to Watch: Canadiens: Montreal needs to get back on track, and two players, who need to start performing are former Devils themselves: Brian Gionta, and Newark-enemy Scott Gomez. in New Jersey, Gomez was a catalyst for the Devils, and that's a role he needs to play in Montreal. Gionta currently hold the Devils record for goals in a single-season (48 in 2005-2006). He needs to become that type of goal scorer again for the Canadiens, who has just 13 goals this season.

Bottom Line: Should be a very interesting game to watch, as New Jersey looks to win consecutive games following their three game skid, but Montreal needs the victory against the 1st-place Devils much more.


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