EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- While the goal was somewhat lucky, the Montreal Canadiens did everything else right to win in New Jersey for the first time since 1993.
New Jersey's Bobby Holik, left, and Francis Bouillon of Montreal did some playoff-caliber hitting.
Jose Theodore had 19 saves, and Jan Bulis scored the fortunate goal as the Canadiens ended a 15-game winless streak (0-12-3) in New Jersey with a 1-0 win over the Devils on Tuesday night.
"We played really well," Theodore said. "We were solid
defensively. It was like that for both teams. There were few scoring chances, it was like a playoff game. That's the way we have to play on the road."
The last Canadiens road win over the Devils was a 2-0 victory Oct. 26, 1993.
The victory was even more important because it moved the Canadiens into a seventh-place tie in the Eastern Conference standings with the Rangers, a point ahead of the Devils in the race for the final playoff berth.
New Jersey has a game in hand with 28 to play.
"It was perfect, we got a lucky goal and then Jose kept us in the game," Bulis said. "They had a couple of chances, but we played hard defensively."
In handing the Devils their first loss in three games since Kevin Constantine replaced former Canadiens great Larry Robinson as coach, the Canadiens had to kill off a full two-minute, two-man Devils power play in the second period.
"Every time you have a 5-on-3 and don't score, it will come back to haunt you," said Theodore after beating the Devils for the first time in nine decisions (1-8).
There was little flow in this game. The teams employed the
neutral-zone trap and kept the chances to a minimum with the teams
combining for 34 shots.
Bulis' third goal since returning 10 games ago from a knee
injury was scored on a pass intended for Andreas Dackell. He skated around the net, and his pass out front hit Martin Brodeur's stick and went into the net at 8:41 of the first period.
"Pure luck," Bulis said. "I went for Dackell at the far post.
He was coming down there."
Brodeur never felt the puck. He thought it hit off his blocker, but he said it might also have hit either one of his defenseman or his stick.
That would be the only goal Theodore would need in recording his fifth shutout of the season and the 13th of his career.
"It's no big deal," Theodore said. "We needed the points. It was a huge game."
The Devils' best scoring chances came in the second period when
they squandered a full two-minute, two-man power play after
Canadiens defenseman Mike Ribeiro got a four-minute high-sticking
penalty and Chad Kilger was called for hooking a little more the a
The Canadiens, who have not given up power-play goal in 11 of 13 games, limited New Jersey to one shot on the power play.
"They didn't do anything special," Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer said. "They didn't give us the middle and we didn't find a way to get it in there and get scoring chances."
Bobby Holik had the Devils' best chances. He was stopped on a
backhander in close on a 2-on-1 break by Theodore with 3:30 left in
the second period and from the left circle with 6:32 to play.
Theodore also stopped a tip in close by Patrik Elias late in the second period and a shot through traffic by Niedermayer after the Devils pulled Brodeur in the closing minute.
Brodeur kept the Devils in the game midway through the second
period with a diving glove save on Yanic Perreault's shot to a seemingly empty net on a power play.
"We're all about winning, and today is definitely a disappointment," Brodeur said. "They just went ahead of us with this win, so you can't be pleased if you lose 1-0 or 7-6. It's more important we get a win, and this is a setback."
Game notes Randy McKay was taken of the injured list by the Devils
after missing 10 games with a hip injury. McKay was clipped on
Ribeiro's penalty. ... D Ken Daneyko played his 1,187th game with
the Devils, tying George Armstrong of Toronto for sixth place on
the list of NHL players who have played their career with the one
team. ... Devils D Scott Stevens moved ahead of Wayne Gretzky into
eighth place in career games, playing his 1,488th.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: IZOD Center Location: East Rutherford, New Jersey
Referees: Terry Gregson, Dean Warren Linesmen: Pierre Champoux, Pat Dapuzzo
Attendance: 12,205 (64.1% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Jan Bulis (7)
Assists: Joe Juneau, Andreas Dackell