NHL Game Recap: New Jersey Devils vs. Montreal Canadiens | 01/17/2024

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils lost 3-2 to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night at the Rock. They controlled play for much of the night, but a few key mistakes cost them the important two points in their playoff push. The Devils fell to 22-17-3 and sit two points out of the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. Montreal improved to 19-18-7 with the win.

Game Recap

Period One

Montreal opened the scoring midway through the first period with a goal from Juraj Slafkovsky. Nico Daws came out of the net to play the puck, lost an edge, and could not fully recover to make the save. Cole Caufield tallied an assist.

Despite generating some good chances, the Devils couldn’t beat Sam Montembeault. They outshot Montreal 11-10 in the period.

Period Two

The Devils had a much better second period and spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. However, after a great chance for New Jersey, they immediately allowed a two-on-one break that the Canadiens converted on. Joshua Roy scored his first NHL goal at 14:45 with assists from Sean Monahan and Joel Armia.

New Jersey led the shot count 11-7 in the period but remained down two goals.

Period Three

The Devils began the final frame during a four-minute power play after Kevin Bahl was high-sticked by Nick Suzuki in the final seconds of the second period.

Luke Hughes cashed in 47 seconds into the period with a blast from the point off a feed from Nico Hischier. Timo Meier also got an assist in his return from injury.

The Devils kept the momentum and capitalized on the power play for a second time less than a minute later. Alexander Holtz found the net from the top of the circle to tie the game. Simon Nemec and Dawson Mercer got the assists.

Unfortunately for the Devils, they couldn’t find the go-ahead goal or force overtime. With around five minutes left in play, Caufield beat Daws from the net front with assists from Monahan and Jordan Harris.

The Devils outshot the Canadiens 30-25 but couldn’t earn a point with the loss.

Takeaways

The Devil is in the Details

This game boiled down to mistakes in key areas that Montreal capitalized on. With the second goal against the Devils, the forwards didn’t pick up the defenseman pinching along the far wall and went for a poorly timed line change. That left Montreal with puck possession and the Devils with just Nemec back to defend two Canadiens already breaking out of the zone. It is also fair to say that Nemec could have defended the play a bit better, but that will come with experience. Either way, the play could have been avoided altogether with better timing on the line change.

On the Caufield game-winning goal, there needed to be better defense in front of Daws, as highlighted by Lindy Ruff in his postgame conference. You would always like for a goaltender to have perfect rebound control, but those opportunities are inevitable, and the defense needs to box opposing players out to prevent easy tap-ins. Caufield was able to walk right to the blue paint and establish an inside position, which can’t happen late in a tie game.

Next Up

The Devils begin another set of back-to-back games in Columbus on Friday night. With the loss against Montreal, the next game becomes even more of a must-win situation for New Jersey.

This is the fourth and final meeting of the year between the Devils and Blue Jackets. The Devils lead the series 2-1-0, having beat Columbus 6-3 on December 16 and 4-3 in overtime on December 27. The Blue Jackets’ only win came on November 24 by a score of 2-1.

The Blue Jackets sit last in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-4-3 record in their last 10 games and a 14-21-9 record on the season.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
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