Devils - Mike Rupp - 3rd goal of the Season, from Martin and Rafalski, at 2:21.
Devils - Brian Gionta - 18th goal of the Season, from Rafalski and Gomez, at 19:18.
Devils - Brian Gionta (PP) - 2nd of the game, 19th of the Season, from Elias and Gomez, at 12:47.
So another victory for the New Jersey Devils. They've taken 5 of their last 6, 7 of their last 10. Marty Brodeur picks up yet another shutout and keeps making a case for MVP or as a starter at the All-Star Game. While Habs goalie Cristobal Huet may have faced a higher quality of chances, Marty was just so good at staying calm when the Canadiens had pressure.
The Devils got out to an early lead when Paul Martin, who's been rancid for most of the season, got the wherewithall to make a rush into the offensive zone. The Canadien defense, like probably every Devil fan watching, seemed to look at Martin with a "what the hell is this?" expression. Martin simply walked to the front of the net and fed a little pass for Mike Rupp, who reaps the reward.
Then the Devils had their first chance to make a statement offensively. Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov were called to the box within 35 seconds of eachother, giving New Jersey the chance to take a big lead. Thanks to the head-stands done by Huet and the defense of Sheldon Souray, they were kept off the board. However, later in the period Gionta cashed in from Brian Rafalski's stick, giving NJ a 2-0 lead that would stick for quite a while.
Meanwhile, as was stated before, Marty was just so darn good. Stopping talents like Koivu, Samsonov, Kovalev, Ryder and Higgins (who had a particularly good game) he turned in another classic Marty performance, making 28 saves, to Cristobal Huet's 34.
In the third, the EGGs showed why it's so hard to stop them when they get going. After being thwarted on another 5-on-3, Michael Ryder carelessly whacked Brad Lukowich, fallen at the time, with the end of his stick, leaving Lukowich bloodied and New Jersey with a 4-minute advantage. Elias, to Gomez, to Gionta...yadda yadda yadda... it went in. I know that's why you read this blog, for crack analysis like this, but anyway...NJ 3, MTL 0.
Notes: Cam Janssen had 2 shots and a fighting major for Lowell against Norfolk Saturday night...Devils play-by-play man Mike "Doc" Emrick will have his usual national prescence this week, calling Detroit vs. Colorado for VERSUS (Tuesday, 9PM E.T.) and Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia for NBC (Saturday, 2PM E.T. Check Local Listings)...Colin White is apparently close to returning, possibly by Wednesday's tilt against the St. Louis Blues (7:30PM)...This was Marty's 7th shutout against Montreal, and 5th of the 06-07 season.