Canadiens lose again
Blake Coleman was on target twice and contributed two assists on Thursday night as the New Jersey Devils beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-4 at Bell Centre.
The Canadiens were slight favourites with sports betting companies ahead of the game, but they went into it off the back of a five-game winless streak, and that run has now been extended to six, as they ended the game in fourth place in the NHL Atlantic Division.
The Devils are currently bottom of the Metropolitan Division, but they earned a battling win, thanks to Coleman, and the 44 saves contributed by Mackenzie Blackwood, along with a goal and a brace of assists from Travis Zajac and the first multipoint performance of Nikita Gusev’s NHL career.
Coleman’s four-point performance was the best of his NHL career, but speaking after the game, he reserved his biggest praise for the team’s goaltender:
“He’s been great for us, and he was no different tonight. He made a lot of big saves that kept us either in the lead or kept us tied at the time, and when you get those big saves, you build confidence as a team. And he deserves a ton of credit for the win.”
For Montreal, Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored and finished with an assist, but was unable to inspire the Canadiens to break their poor run, in which they’ve conceded 20 goals in their last three games.
Carey Price, who had been pulled after letting in five goals during Wednesday’s 8-1 loss against the Boston Bruins, was back between the posts and made 29 saves on the night for Montreal, but he was let down by some poor defensive play from his team.
Coleman had opened the scoring early in the first period, picking up a pass from Gusev and slotting the puck past Shea Weber at the end of a two-on-one, but Brendan Gallagher levelled the game only 22 seconds later.
The scores remained level until the end of the first period, when Zajac finished with a neat backhand following more good work from Gusev, but Montreal levelled again through Kotkaniemi early in the second period.
In a high-scoring third period, Miles Wood gave the Devils the lead, Joel Armia equalised, and Jesper Boqvist made it 4-3 to New Jersey halfway through the period
The Devils opened up a decisive 5-3 lead through Damon Severson on 8:21 in the third, and although Artturi Lehkonen got one back for the Canadiens, Coleman sealed the win at 18:44.
Words: Stijn Janssen