Who: New Jersey Devils at Montreal Canadiens
When: 6:00 p.m. ET; Pregame show at 5:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada
Media: TV - MSG+ (Channel listings); Radio - WFAN (660AM or 101.9FM)
Stats & Notes (via Devils PR)
- New Jersey is looking to begin the season 4-0 for the first time since 1995-96.
- The Devils also hope to extend an eight-game winning streak in Montreal (last loss, 4-0 3/11/08).
- Patrik Elias is just three points away from 900 in his NHL career.
- Rookie Stefan Matteau, whose father Stephane was born in Quebec, will play in Montreal for the first time as an NHLer.
Forwards Defense GoalieMatteau-Zajac-Kovalchuk Salvador-Zidlicky Brodeur
Inactives: Harrold, Larsson, Barch
No pressure, kid Pt. 2: The other night, we talked about Mattias Tedenby getting his shot at the spotlight that is first line left wing. Well, Tedenby was off the top line before the end of the first period and barely played at all in the third and in OT, although a lot of that was due to the obscene amounts of special teams play in those periods. Now, the pressure is on the 18-year-old Matteau, who will start the game alongside Zajac and Kovy and do so in a hockey-mad city he basically considers his hometown. Oh, and he's only got two more games to prove to Pete DeBoer and Lou Lamoriello they shouldn't send him back to juniors.
Straight from the start: Slow starts have been a problem the last two games. The Devils have admitted as much. DeBoer said the team addressed it before Friday's game against Washington, but wasn't sure why it happened again. My suggestion was to start the game off with the Devils' energy line of Carter-Gionta-Bernier. Can't hurt right? Roll your top line next and then come back with the Elias-Clarkson duo to keep the momentum coming. How the Devils come out of the gate tonight will go a long way to determining how the game goes.
Price is wrong, Bob: Tonight's start is so crucial because for the first time this season, the Devils are going up against a goalie that can match Martin Brodeur save for save. Carey Price, despite a bit of a disappointing season last year, is every bit the consistent, elite goalie he finally became two years ago. Just like Brodeur, Price has started every game for Montreal this season and just like Marty, he's carried the undermanned Habs to a winning record. Not only can Price steal a game, he does it -- often. Coming off a very strong performance from Michal Neuvirty, this will be the first real test the Devils' have faced in net all season.
Every bad country cliche about being on the road: For the first time since the lockout ended, the Devils will be outside of their home state. Well, except for Koby, but that's a very dead horse. How will they respond to a hostile crowd or at least a crowd that doesn't wait for them to get in their groove? This goes back to the hot start thing. Take the crowd out of it from the jump. Put Price on his heels. Establish the aggressive forecheck that you do so well. That's a pretty good formula for winning on the road.
Language!: How about no more bench minors for "abusing the officials," huh Pete? Just saying. You're really racking up the PIMs there and I can't pick you up in my fantasy league, so it really doesn't do anyone any good.