Sports

Habs aim to halt slide vs. Devils

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season when they host the surging New Jersey Devils in Saturday's clash at Bell Centre.

The Canadiens lost their second straight game on Tuesday, falling to the Buffalo Sabres, who are last in the NHL standings. Montreal began a four- game homestand with a fifth consecutive victory last Saturday against Washington before dropping a pair of 3-2 regulation decisions to Arizona and the Sabres.

Montreal has lost three in a row on three occasions this season with the last time coming from Dec. 3-6.

Despite the recent 0-2-0 stretch, the Habs are still third in the Atlantic Division and hold a six-point lead over fourth-place Boston.

Buffalo halted a club-record losing streak with its surprising win over the Canadiens. The Sabres had lost 14 straight in regulation and picked up their first victory since downing the New York Islanders on Dec. 27.

Brandon Prust and David Desharnais scored goals for Montreal in a losing effort. Carey Price, coming off consecutive shutouts in his previous two outings, gave up three goals on 18 shots.

Price will be back in net tonight and is 9-10-1 with a 2.41 goals against average in 20 career games against New Jersey.

Montreal and the Devils have split a pair of meetings this season with each club winning on the road. The Canadiens has taken three of four and four of six overall in the series, but Jersey boasts a 9-1-1 mark in the last 11 meetings in "La belle province."

The Devils have won their last three games, picking up their latest victory with Friday's 4-1 home triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The winning streak matches the club's longest of the season, tying a season-opening 3-0 start.

New Jersey also is riding a 5-0-1 point streak, but the club is still 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Patrik Elias scored his 400th career goal on Friday to help the Devils cruise to the win over the Maple Leafs. Elias became the 91st player in NHL history to reach the mark when he scored early in the second period to give Jersey a 2-0 lead.

"I think his trademark is that he's an all-purpose player, an all-situation player," Devils interim coach Lou Lamoriello said of Elias. "He has the highest hockey sense you can have, but he's a finisher too. You don't score 400 goals and not be considered a goal-scorer."

Jaromir Jagr, Tuomo Ruutu and Steve Bernier also scored for the Devils, while Cory Schneider stopped 33 shots in the win.

Keith Kinkaid will give Schneider a rest tonight with his sixth start of the season. Kinkaid, a 25-year-old rookie, faced Montreal for the first time on Jan. 2 and yielded three goals in a 4-2 loss at Prudential Center.

The Devils are 10-15-2 as the visiting team this season. Beginning with tonight's tilt, the team will play three of its next four on the road. However, New Jersey's next game will be Monday's home test against Edmonton.