After being run into for a second time in one period, ever-steady Canadiens goaltender Carey Price lost it.
Price, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, pummeled New Jersey forward Kyle Palmieri with his blocker in the first period of Montreal's 5-2 victory over the Devils on Thursday night.
Earlier in the period, Price was bumped by Adam Henrique as the Devils center scored a goal. After Palmieri slid into Price's knees, the goaltender jumped on him and pounded on his head and back.
"I got run over on the first goal and then I took another one and I got fired up, I guess," Price said.
Palmieri got a minor for goalie interference while Price got 4 minutes for roughing.
"It was nice to see the fire," Montreal's Torrey Mitchell said. "Everyone thinks he's just a calm, laid back guy, but he's competitive.
"All of us in here know that, so it was nice to see him fight back a little bit there. Obviously we don't want him doing that. We want to step in for him. But he's a competitive guy, so it was nice to see."
Palmieri, who was dragged away by Jeff Petry as Price kept swinging, called it "just a hockey play.
"I've done it probably 50 to 100 times in my career. You go to the net and either it's a trip or a push or you lose an edge. It's going to the net. That's where you score goals. You go to the net, try to put a good shot on and you lose control.
"I don't know the rule, but any time you're on the ice defenseless and you're taking a blocker to the back of the head, it's not a great situation to be in."
Price settled down the rest of the way and made 19 saves while the Canadiens fired a season-high 49 shots at Cory Schneider.
Mitchell scored twice and Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen and Max Pacioretty also had goals for the Canadiens in their return from a five-game trip.
Henrique scored a goal and set up one by Taylor Hall for New Jersey, which ended a two-game winning streak.
A wild first period included three goals, four goal reviews and Price's meltdown.
Danault, who skipped the team skate Thursday morning due to an illness, opened the scoring at 12:49 on a disputed goal when he tipped Nathan Beaulieu's shot past Schneider. It stood through an official review for a high stick and Devils coach John Hynes' challenge that Schneider was interfered with by Danault just outside the crease.
Henrique tied it at 16:19 when the rebound of P.A. Parenteau's shot went off him into the net just before Henrique rammed into Price. Again, the goal was upheld after two reviews.
At 17:15, Mitchell elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 and the rebound went in off New Jersey forward Nick Lappin's skate. Andrew Shaw picked up his second assist of the game on the goal.
There was another small bump on Schneider before Lehkonen scored into an open side at 9:59 of the second, but at that point, both coaches had used up their challenges.
Pacioretty was alone in front to score on a backhand that trickled through Schneider's pads 45 seconds into the third after Alexander Radulov forced a turnover.
Henrique made a clever backhand pass for Hall to score into an open side on a power play at 3:07. Hall has scored in three straight games.
Mitchell reached in from behind the net to tuck in his second of the game at 15:49.
NOTES: Montreal announced that D Greg Pateryn, who took a shot off a foot on Tuesday in St. Louis, will be out about eight weeks with a fractured ankle. .... Canadiens Ds Nathan Beaulieu (neck) and Zach Redmond (broken foot) returned from injuries. Offseason signing Redmond made his Canadiens debut.
Canadiens: Host Colorado on Saturday night.
Devils: Return home to host St. Louis on Friday night.