New Jersey Devils (13-19-7) vs. Montreal Canadiens (19-9-9)
7:00 PM ET • Prudential Center • MSG Plus • Sports Radio 66 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN
New Jersey will have a 10:30 AM morning skate at Prudential Center.
Coming Into Tonight
New Jersey finished the 2014 calendar year with a record of 31-32-17=79pts (.494); the club was 36-35-18=90pts (.506) in 2013.
The Devils are opening a three-game homestand and their ninth of 18 sets of back-to-back games. They are 4-2-2 in first games and 2-4-2 in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
New Jersey was 4/4 on the penalty-kill on Wednesday at Detroit and is 36/39 (92.3%) over the past 12 games.
Montreal defeated Florida, 2-1 in the shootout on Tuesday at BB&T Center. The Canadiens have won four straight and seven of their last eight games.
Max Pacioretty leads the Habs with 14g-14a-18pts and is tied for fourth (with three others) in the NHL with a +18 mark this season.
Carey Price is 6-1-0 with a 1.29 goals-against average and .956 save-percentage over his last seven starts. He’s tied (Frederik Andersen) for second in the NHL with 20 wins this season.
Last Game: December 31 – Devils 1 at Detroit 3
The Devils dropped the season series vs. the Red Wings, 0-2-1.
New Jersey fell to 8-13-2 on the road and to 13-19-7 overall.
Detroit outshot New Jersey, 28-13. The Devils’ 13 shots on goal were a season-low (previously, 16, December 8 at Carolina).
The Devils recorded just one shot on goal in the third period, the 15th time in team history they’ve posted one shot or fewer in a single period (last time, February 7, 2012 in a 1-0 win at the New York Rangers).
Cory Schneider (25 saves) made his NHL leading 35th start in goal and fell to 12-18-4.
Joe Whitney scored the first goal of his career in his third NHL game.
Tim Sestito collected the lone assist on Whitney’s goal, his first point of the season/since April 10 at Ottawa.
Dainius Zubrus appeared in the 1,200th game of his NHL career, becoming just the 102nd player in NHL history to do so.
Stephen Gionta (broken hand) missed his first game of the season, leaving Andy Greene as the only Devil to appear in each of the team’s 39 games this season.
Devils vs. Canadiens
Tonight’s game is the first of three meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals this season and one two contests to be played at Prudential Center.
Montreal won the 2013-14 season series 2-1-0. The Devils outscored the Canadiens, 9-8, and held a 83-77 advantage in total shots on goal.
Michael Ryder led the Devils with 2g-2a-4pts last season, while David Desharnais posted 1g-2a-3pts to lead the Canadiens.
Martin Brodeur (1-1-0, 2.01 goals-against average & .915 save-percentage) and Cory Schneider (0-0-1, 2.77 GAA & .900 save %) shared the goaltending duties for New Jersey, while Carey Price (1-1-0, 2.52 GAA & .896 save %) and Peter Budaj (1-0-0, 2.77 GAA & .912 save %) each appeared in goal for Montreal.
Patrik Elias is the Devils’ all-time leader with 25g-25a-50pts in 60 career games vs. the Habs.
Schneider’s start on December 4 last season at Prudential Center was the first/only game of his career vs. Montreal..
The Devils lead the all-time series vs. the Canadiens 61-40-10 and are 34-16-5 in the previous 55 games played in New Jersey.
The remainder of the series is as follows: April 3 at New Jersey; February 7 at Montreal.
Mike Cammalleri played three seasons with Montreal from 2009-2012.
Michael Ryder was Montreal’s ninth choice (eighth round), and the 216th overall selection of the 1998 Entry Draft. He played the first four seasons of his NHL career, 2003-08, with the Canadiens. He was later re-acquired in a trade with Dallas on February 26, 2013 and played in 27 regular season & five playoff games in his second stint with the Habs..
Dainius Zubrus played for parts of three seasons with Montreal from 1999-01.
Eric Gelinas played four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Lewiston, Chicoutimi and St. John from 2007-11.
Special Assignment Coach Jacques Lemaire played his entire Hall-of-Fame career with Montreal and won eight Stanley Cup Championships with the Habs. He also served as the team’s Head Coach for one-plus season from 1984-85.
Special Assignment Coach Jacques Laperriere also played his entire Hall-of-Fame career with the Canadiens and was a member of six Stanley Cup Championship teams.
DEVILS RESTRUCTURE COACHING STAFF: On December 27, New Jersey restructured its coaching staff by adding Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. They join Tommy Albelin, Mike Foligno and Chris Terreri on the team’s staff. Peter DeBoer and Dave Barr were relieved of their coaching duties.
ZUBRUS APPROACHING 1,200 GAMES:Dainius Zubrus appeared in his 1,200th game on Wednesday, becoming just the 102nd player in NHL history to do so. He made his NHL debut as the youngest player in Flyers’ franchise history (18 years, 3 months & 19 days) on October 5, 1996 vs. Florida and scored a goal that night vs. former Devil John Vanbiesbrouck. Zubrus has played 511 games with the Devils entering tonight, the most among the five NHL teams he’s skated for, followed by Washington (331), Philadelphia (200), Montreal (139) and Buffalo (19).
ONE-THOUSAND GAMES FOR GOMEZ:Scott Gomez appeared in the 1,000th game of his career on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, becoming the 296th player in NHL history to do so.
JAGR CLIMBING UP THE CHARTS: Jaromir Jagr has career totals of 711g-1,065a-1,776pts in 1,511 NHL games. Jagr scored the 711th goal of his career on December 29 vs. Pittsburgh and now trails Phil Esposito (717g) by six for fifth in NHL history. He scored his 709th goal on November 28 vs. Detroit to move past Mike Gartner for sole-possession of sixth place all-time. On December 15 at the NY Islanders, he posted the 1,064/65th assists of his career to pass Steve Yzerman (1,063a) for sole possession of seventh-place in NHL history. Adam Oates (1,079a) ranks sixth. He recorded 1g-1a-2pts on December 8 at Carolina to tie/surpass Marcel Dionne (731g-1,040a-1,771pts) for sole-possession of fifth-place on the NHL’s point-scoring list. Ron Francis (549g-1,249a-1,798pts) is fourth. He also appeared in his 1,500th career game on December 8 to pass Mike Modano for sole-possession of 15th-place all-time; Yzerman (1,514) is 14th. With 202 power play goals, Jagr has tied Yzerman for 15th-place; Wayne Gretzky is next on the list with 204 PPG. He extended his NHL records with his 126th GWG December 29 & the 19 OT goal of his career on October 25 at Ottawa. Jagr recorded three shots on goal on December 2 at Pittsburgh to pass passed Al MacInnis (5,157) for third-place in NHL history.
WELCOME BACK GOMER: Scott Gomez, who signed a new contract with New Jersey on December 1, made his season debut on December 2 at Pittsburgh and became the 25th player in Devils’ history to be re-acquired and see action with the team. Prior to December 2, Gomez last played for the Devils on May 5, 2007 in game six of the ECSF vs. Ottawa. Gomez posted the 338th assist of his Devils’ career on December 15 at the New York Islanders to pass Scott Stevens (337a) for sole-possession fourth-place in team history. He recorded 2a on December 8 at Carolina to tie/surpass Kirk Muller (335a) for fifth-place on New Jersey’s all-time list. Gomez ranks sixth in Devils’ history with 457pts; Bobby Holik (202g-270a-472pts) is fifth.
ELIAS APPROACHING MILESTONES: Patrik Elias scored his fourth goal of the season on December 19 vs. Tampa Bay and now has career totals of 397g-599a-996pts in 1,184 games. He’s looking to become just the 91st player in league history to reach the 400-goal mark, the 80th to collect 600 assists, the 82nd to compile 1,000 points and the 101st to appear in 1,200 games.
THAT’S A FIRST:Keith Kinkaid (26 saves + 3/3 SO) earned the first win of his NHL career on December 19 vs. Tampa Bay. He became the first goaltender to win his first NHL game as a Devil since Scott Clemmensen (January 20, 2004 at Pittsburgh). Kinkaid also became the first goaltender in NHL history to have each of his first three starts go to the shootout.
POWER PLAY SPECIALIST: Mike Cammalleri scored his team-leading fifth power play goal on December 6 at Toronto. He now has 90 PPG since 2005-06, which ranks ninth among active players/11th overall.
500 CLUB: Andy Greene skated in his 500th game with New Jersey on November 28 vs. Detroit, becoming the eighth defenseman/25th player in team history to reach the milestone. Dainius Zubrus appeared in his 500th game with the Devils on November 21 at Edmonton, becoming the 24th player in franchise history to do so.
SCHNEIDER ESTABLISHES NEW FRANCHISE RECORD: Cory Schneider started 20 consecutive games from October 9-November 21 at Edmonton, the longest streak to begin a season in Devils’ history (Martin Brodeur, 19, October 6-November 2, 2001). (credit Elias Sports Bureau)
CORY’S NUMBER ONE:Cory Schneider ranks first with a 2.14 goals-against average (2nd, Jonathan Quick, 2.16) and a .925 save-percentage (2nd, Tuukka Rask, .924) among goaltenders that have played in at least 100 games since the start of 2010-11. Schneider finished his first season in New Jersey with a 1.97 GAA, which ranked third in the NHL and first among goaltenders who appeared in at least 35 games. Schneider posted the third-best single-season GAA in franchise history behind Martin Brodeur’s 1996-97 (1.88 GAA) and 1997-98 (1.89 GAA) campaigns.
CZECH IT OUT: Jaromir Jagr (711g-1,065a-1,776pts), Patrik Elias (397g-599a-996pts) are the two highest-scoring players from the Czech Republic in NHL history, while Martin Havlat (239g-348a-587pts) ranks third among active players and 15th all-time. Marek Zidlicky is fifth among all Czech defensemen with 82g-303a-385pts and 27th overall.
YOUTH MOVEMENT ON THE BLUE LINE: The Devils’ roster features five defensemen who are 24-years-old or younger: Seth Helgeson (24), Eric Gelinas (23 years), Jon Merrill (22), Adam Larsson (22) and Damon Severson (20).
WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2015 World Junior Championships began Dec. 26 in Montreal, Que. and Toronto, Ont. Forward Miles Wood, New Jersey’s third choice (fourth round) in the 2013 Entry Draft, is skating for Team USA for the first time; he’s recorded 4 PIM and is a +1 through four games thus far. The U.S. finished the preliminary round 2-1-1-0 with a 5-3 loss to Canada on Wednesday. They’ll face Russia in the quarterfinals of the playoff round today at Bell Centre.
Mike Cammalleri needs four games played for 700 in his NHL career.
Patrik Elias needs three goals to reach 400, one assist to reach 600 and four points to reach 1,000 in his NHL career.
Tuomo Ruutu needs six assists to reach 200 in his NHL career.
Michael Ryder needs seven games to reach 800 in his NHL career.
Stephen Gionta (I.R., broken hand, one game missed) is out.
Jacob Josefson (ill, two games missed) is day-to-day.
Michael Ryder (I.R., mumps, three games missed) is day-to-day.
Patrik Elias (I.R., mumps, four games missed) is day-to-day.
Martin Havlat (I.R., virus, four games missed) is day-to-day.
Damon Severson (I.R., left ankle, seven games missed) is out.
Bryce Salvador (I.R., lower body, 24 games missed) is out.
Ryane Clowe (I.R., hit to head, 26 games missed) is out.
Total man-games lost to injury/illness: 158.
December 30 – Stephen Gionta was placed on Injured Reserve, retroactive to Dec. 29. Jacob Josefson was placed on I.R., retroactive to Dec. 27. Mike Sislo was recalled from Albany (AHL).
December 29 – Michael Ryder was placed on I.R. Stefan Matteau and Joe Whitney were recalled from Alb.
December 27 – Patrik Elias and Martin Havlat were placed on I.R., retroactive to December 20. Dainius Zubrus was activated from I.R. Tim Sestito was recalled from Alb.
December 24 – Tim Sestito was assigned to Alb.
December 23 – Mike Cammalleri was activated from Injured Reserve.
December 22 – Tim Sestito was recalled from Alb.
December 21 – Tim Sestito and Mike Sislo were assigned to Alb.
December 20 – Mike Cammalleri was placed on I.R., retroactive to December 13. Adam Larsson and Mike Sislo were recalled from Alb.
December 18 – Dainius Zubrus was placed on I.R., retroactive to December 8. Damon Severson was also placed on I.R. Adam Larsson was assigned to Alb. for conditioning; Tim Sestito was recalled. Mark Fraser was signed to a two-way contract and placed on waivers.