Devils at Canadiens
The New Jersey Devils have gotten off to a hot start thanks to a defense that has allowed three goals in as many games. The Montreal Canadiens, who host the Devils on Sunday, will try to pierce that powerful blue line and ageless goaltender Martin Brodeur. The Canadiens have won two of their first three games this season and are surging offensively thanks to defensemen Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz, who have combined for nine points. The team will be without Max Pacioretty, who is sidelined for three-to-four weeks after undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
Markov has three goals in the last two games and is finally healthy after missing most of the previous two seasons with knee injuries. He has recorded all of his points on the power play. New Jersey has made up for the departure of Zach Parise by putting the focus on defense and shifting more offensive responsibility toward Ilya Kovalchuk, who scored the game-winner in Friday's 3-2 win over Washington.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, MSG (New Jersey), RDS (Montreal)
ABOUT THE DEVILS (3-0-0): New Jersey allowed more than one goal for the first time on Friday but pulled out the victory when Kovalchuk sent a wrist shot in from a difficult angle at the 4:39 mark of overtime. The Devils will really start to be tested this week, with a trip to Boston coming up after Montreal. Brodeur, 40, has yet to face more than 28 shots in a game thanks to the New Jersey defense, which has killed off 16 of 18 penalties. Veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky has helped on the power play as well, taking over the point and recording three assists to lead the team.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (2-1-0): Montreal dropped a 2-1 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the season opener but has dominated in its last two games. The Canadiens have beaten the Southeast Division representatives Florida and Washington by identical 4-1 margins as Markov has quickly gotten up to speed. The 34-year-old Russian had recorded one goal in the 2010-11 and 11-12 seasons but doubled that total in the win over the Panthers before adding a goal and an assist against the Capitals. Goaltender Carey Price has been sharp in each of his first three starts and Montreal was a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill at Washington after allowing three goals in that situation during the first two contests.
1. Devils C Adam Henrique (hand surgery) could be back in the lineup by next weekend.
2. Montreal D P.K. Subban still has not reached a contract agreement with the club and has yet to play this season.
3. Brodeur is 43-18-5 with a 1.74 goals-against average in 66 career games against his hometown team.