It may not have been the prettiest of wins, but the Montreal Canadiens showed their resolve and earned a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night. The Canadiens remain one of the hottest teams in the league after winning seven of their last eight games, and the win over the Devils helped complete a home-and-home sweep over a three-night span. A goal from Brian Gionta gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead in the first period, and that ended up being the only lead they would have in regulation. Peter Budaj gave up two goals to the Devils in the first half of the third period, but after that the Canadiens showed how strong of a team they are.
Lars Eller evened things up with just under four minutes remaining in the game, and things got more dramatic after that. A rare defensive gaffe by P.K. Subban led to a Devils goal with just over a minute to play, but David Desharnais was able to bail out his teammate by scoring with 37 seconds left, sending the game to overtime and eventually a shootout. Budaj turned aside two of the three Devils shooters he faced, while Eller and Desharnais were able to convert and help Montreal capture the extra point.
Wednesday’s game marked the fifth consecutive game that the Canadiens were perfect on the penalty kill, as they killed off two Devils’ chances. Budaj moved to 4-1-1 on the season, and he sports a 1.63 goals-against average and .963 save percentage. For the second consecutive season, he has proven to be a solid backup to Carey Price, which gives the Canadiens a chance to win while also giving their star netminder a night off from time to time. Montreal’s 17th win of the season kept the team in second in the Atlantic Division, with their 37 points trailing only the Boston Bruins (38 points) for the top spot.