NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jacob Josefson and Patrik Elias scored in the shootout and the New Jersey Devils snapped a season-high six-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.
Stefan Matteau and Reid Boucher, who were called up from the minors last month for a look-see with the Devils out of the playoff chase, scored for New Jersey and rookie goaltender Keith Kinkaid made 31 saves.
Tomas Plekanec and defenseman Jeff Petry scored for Montreal, which lost in a shootout for the second straight night. Dustin Tokarski made 16 saves in giving Carey Price a night off.
The point gave the Canadiens 104 for the season and a two-point lead over Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division with three games left in the regular season.
After Boucher and Alex Galchenyuk missed on their opening attempts in the shootout, Josefson gave the Devils the lead by beating Tokarski with a deke and a forehand into the top of the net.
David Desharnais got off a weak shot on the Canadiens’ second attempt and Elias won the game with a move that got Tokarski out of position for an easy goal.
The Devils penalty kill and Kinkaid were the difference after giving up an early power-play goal. They limited Montreal to one shot on a five-minute power play late in the second period and killed off a 33-second two-man disadvantage in the final six minutes of regulation and another penalty in the overtime.
Plekanec and Petry scored in a two-minute span in the first period to give the Canadiens a 2-1 lead. But the Devils tied the game early in the second when Boucher deflected a point shot by defenseman Jon Merrill past Tokarski.
Matteau, who was called up from Albany of the AHL on Mar. 21 along with Boucher, had given the Devils the early lead, swatting the rebound of a shot by defenseman Adam Larsson past Tokarski at 9:51 of the opening period. It was his first goal of the season and second of his career for New Jersey’s first-round draft pick in 2012.
Plekanec tied the game at 14:39 with a power-play goal. It came on a shot from the right circle just 7 seconds after Merrill was penalized for interference.
Petry intercepted a clearing attempt by Devils defenseman Damon Severson coming in from the right point and beat Kinkaid to the Canadiens ahead. Lars Eller appeared to tip the shot but Petry got credit for his seventh goal of the season.
Montreal had a great chance to take the lead late in the second period when veteran Devils center Scott Gomez was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for elbowing Alexei Emelin after the Canadiens defenseman sent him hard to the ice with a check.
NOTES: Larsson’s 21 assists is tied for third on the Devils with Patrik Elias. …Canadiens D Andrei Markov missed his first game of the season. Sergei Gonchar replaced him after sitting the last 10 and he had the primary assist on Plekanec’s goal, which was his 199th with the Canadiens. …D F Stephen Gionta missed the game with a back injury. …Matteau’s other goal was on Feb. 9, 2013. Boucher’s last goal was Jan. 16, 2014. …The game was a sellout (16,592), including a vocal Canadien contingent. Gomez’s major was the third of his career and his first since the 2000 season. …Montreal won the season series 2-1.
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