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Game Preview #62: Devils vs. Canadiens

Des Canadiens des Montreal head to New Jersey, looking to achieve the series sweep.

Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils
Steven Santini, one of the young guys looking to help the Devils beat the Canadiens
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV – MSG+; Radio - WFAN 660 AM and 101.9 FM

The Matchup: The Montreal Canadiens (33-21-8) vs. the New Jersey Devils (25-25-11)

The Last Devils Game: The Devils fell to the Rangers 4-3, in overtime. The first goal was scored off a Chris Kreider deflection. Dan Girardi’s slap shot from the point was going wide, but it bounced off of Kreider and over Schneider into the net for the 1-0 lead. Oscar Lindberg then made it 2-0 off a beautiful play from Jesper Fast. The Devils then wouldn’t respond until there was 1 minute left in the 2nd. Adam Henrique got the puck from behind the net, and snuck the puck underneath Raanta on the wraparound for a 2-1 game. Palmieri then tied the game, sniping a shot off Raanta’s glove and in the net for a tie game. Kyle Palmieri then got another goal on the power play, tipping in his slap shot into the net. The third goal came off an Adam Clendening slap shot from the point to tie the game. In overtime, Palmieri got a breakaway but was denied, before Mika Zibanejad scored off a weak shot which slipped by Schneider to give the Rangers a 4-3 OT win.

The Last Canadiens Game: The Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime. Auston Matthews opened the scoring, with his shot deflecting off the Canadiens player and somehow bouncing into the net. Pacioretty then scored on the power play, slapping a shot off a pass from Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk himself would then tally a goal, with Galchenyuk alone in front easily depositing it by Anderson for a 2-1 game. Matthews then tied the game off a tip in front, obtaining 30 goals on the year. Matthews had a chance to win it in overtime on a breakaway, but was stoned by Price. Then, Shaw and Plekanec had a 2-on-1, which Frederick Anderson gravely misread, which led to Shaw being all alone in front of the net and scoring to win the game 3-2 for Montreal.

The Last Devils-Montreal Game: On the 20th of January, the Canadiens beat the Devils 3-1 in New Jersey. The Canadiens goals were scored by Alex Galchenyuk, Shea Weber, and Max Pacioretty. The Devils goal was scored by Steven Santini. Keith Kinkaid was the goalie for this game, and all the Canadiens goals were on the power play. John wrote a recap here. In it, John criticizes the refereeing, with one call being a major boarding penalty against Karl Stollery. The NHL later apologized for the call, which shows even they thought the call was terrible. If you want to see John very upset, this is the recap to go to.

The Goal: Who knows at this point. Do we even want to win anymore? Anyway, if we’re trying to win, play a good possession game, and make good outlet passes. Usually, when watching Devils games, the Devils tend to struggle with making clean passes and starting rushes. The Devils are 29th in the league in terms of Corsi, while Montreal is 3rd, so the possession game is unlikely to favor the Devils.

If you don’t want the Devils to win, hope that PA Parenteau and Kyle Quincey perform well. Those two are the most likely Devils to get traded, with the recent losses almost assuring their departure. Parenteau has 13 goals and 14 assists, but has been invisible for most of the Devils season. Kyle Quincey has 4 goals and 8 assists, with a very deceptive +2 rating. Both are expendable in my eyes for the Devils, who should look to build for the future by dealing rental pieces. If they can, I’d also be happy with a Michael Cammalleri or Ben Lovejoy trade as well.

Trade Rumors: PA Parenteau has been linked to the Senators, but that’s about it. I have no idea what PA Parenteau can attract, but considering that Fiddler was able to obtain a 4th, I can see Parenteau attracting a conditional third, and maybe a low-end prospect.

Kyle Quincey has seen his name thrown around more often. The Penguins and Lightning are in the market for a rental defenseman. Bleacher Report recently listed the Leafs as being a team that could target Quincey, though that was purely speculation. If Quincey were to be traded, I don’t see the Devils getting much. Michael Stone, a much better and younger defenseman that Quincey, only got a 3rd and conditional 5th round pick. Thus, I see Quincey going for a 3rd at most, but most likely a 4th round pick.

Who To Watch: Look to see how Kyle Palmieri responds after scoring a two-goal game against the Rangers. The former Duck now has 18 goals on the year, and continues to impress for the Devils. Taylor Hall hasn’t put up the stats most Devils fans were expecting before the season, and he only sits at 14 goals. However, Hall has been the best, and most dynamic Devils forward by far. If not for him, the Devils would be even worse.

Personally, I always want to see how the young guys do. I always check to see if Pavel Zacha, Miles Wood and Steven Santini are performing well, and developing nicely. Before Zacha’s concussion, he was one of the Devils top performers as of recently. Wood is a nice offensive piece, but he needs to get better defensively. Santini has been a solid defensive piece for the Devils, and looks a core piece for them.

Dangerous Canadiens: This Canadiens team has a little bit of everything. Star goaltender? Carey Price is here to please. Star defenseman? Hello Shea Weber. Solid scorers? Pacioretty, Radulov and Galchenyuk are here for you. This team is deadly on paper, so watch for them to cause mayhem.

Recent Transactions: None for the Devils or Canadiens, parring a trade later today.

Your Thoughts: So, what do you think will happen in this game? Do you even want the Devils to win at this point? Let me know in the comments below, and take care.