Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Devils played the role of spoiler Tuesday by upending the playoff-bound Montreal Canadiens, 3-2, at Prudential Center.
Martin Brodeur made 19 saves for the Devils, who received goals from Patrik Elias, Jacob Josefson and Steve Sullivan to win for the third time in four games.
Though mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, New Jersey hurt Montreal's chances at capturing the Northeast Division title and avoided being swept in the three-game season series.
"We know we're a good team. It's unfortunate we missed the playoffs, but we still want to compete and prove we can play well," Brodeur said.
Carey Price stopped 21-of-24 shots while Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty both scored for the Canadiens, whose current 1-5 slump has them tied with the Boston Bruins atop the division at 59 points apiece. Boston has a game in hand on Montreal.
The Canadiens fell behind 3-0 when Sullivan scored on the power play 4:36 into the second period.
They caught a break on their own man-advantage 1:57 later as Pacioretty's pass out front was redirected into the back of the net off the skate of Devils defenseman Adam Larsson.
Eller cut the difference to 3-2 with a shot that went off the post, off Brodeur and in with 21 seconds to go before the second intermission, but the visitors managed just five shots in a scoreless third period to come up short.
"We made a game of it, but we didn't make a good enough push in the third period," Canadiens forward Brian Gionta said.
New Jersey scored on the power play with 6:05 left in the opening period as Elias got behind the defense, secured Travis Zajac's pass and went top shelf over Price's right shoulder.
Dainius Zubrus set up Josefson's first goal of the season with a pass from behind the net at the 17:36 mark for a 2-0 edge.
Montreal finishes its regular season with road games at Winnipeg and Toronto, while Boston plays home games against Tampa Bay and Ottawa around a road title in Washington ... New Jersey will host Pittsburgh on Thursday before ending the season at the Rangers on Saturday.