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National Hockey League
Preview
Montreal at New Jersey
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, January 20, 2017
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

Taylor Hall was quick to label the New Jersey Devils' recent four-game road trip as a "make or break" moment of their season, and he responded by recording a point in each contest. Hall (team-leading 29 points) hopes his productive play continues when New Jersey begins a stretch of 12 of its next 16 games at home, beginning with Friday's tilt versus the Montreal Canadiens.

"We put ourselves in a decent spot with some really good play on that trip," Hall told NorthJersey.com on the heels of notching an assist in Tuesday's 4-3 victory at Minnesota. "It all goes to nothing if we don't keep it going and keep playing well." The 25-year-old Hall collected a goal and an assist in the Devils' 5-2 road loss to Montreal on Dec. 8 and has seen his team post a 2-6-1 mark at the Prudential Center since that contest. Carey Price made 19 saves in the first meeting with New Jersey, but the night is best remembered for the traditionally mild-mannered netminder unleashing several blows with his blocker to the head of Kyle Palmieri. The Devils forward won't have to worry about a repeat performance as the Canadiens announced that backup Al Montoya will get the nod on Friday with Price expected to face Atlantic Division-rival Buffalo the following night.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet East, RDS (Montreal), MSG-Plus (New Jersey)

ABOUT THE CANADIENS (27-13-6): Captain Max Pacioretty (team-leading 20 goals) scored in the first meeting with New Jersey, but has seen his team tally just once en route to losing back-to-back contests. "We've got to find ways to generate offense," Pacioretty said of Canadiens mustering just 38 shots on goal in the last two contests. "It hasn't been there the last two games. Not sure why. We have to feel confident with the puck, make plays when they're there. Seems like we're not making those plays, and the result is not getting many opportunities." Fellow forward Torrey Mitchell scored twice in the first encounter with the Devils, but has been limited to just five assists in his last 19 games.

ABOUT THE DEVILS (19-18-9): Palmieri collected a goal and an assist for the second time in three games on Tuesday to continue his pronounced turnaround from a sluggish start to the season. The 25-year-old began the campaign with just seven points (three goals, four assists) in his first 17 games before posting 20 (seven goals, 13 assists) in his last 27 - including an assist in the first meeting with Montreal. Fellow forward Adam Henrique scored and set up a goal in the first encounter with the Canadiens and also tallied at the Wild to end a five-game point drought.

OVERTIME

1. Montreal D Andrei Markov is considered week-to-week with a lower-body injury that has sidelined him 15 games.

2. New Jersey has have dropped 10 of 15 contests (5-7-3) versus Atlantic Division representatives.

3. Montreal is 0-for-4 on the power play in the last three games after erupting for seven goals with the man advantage in the previous five.

PREDICTION: Canadiens 3, Devils 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Montreal 27-13-5-1 L2 16-5-2-0 11-8-3-1 1-1-0-0 26-12-5-1 10-2-3-1
New Jersey 19-18-7-2 W3 10-6-3-0 9-12-4-2 2-2-0-0 17-16-7-2 5-4-0-2
Last Meeting
Montreal New Jersey
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
12/8/16 NJ 2 MON 5 49 19 0-2 21 44 1-3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Montreal P. Danault 2
New Jersey T. Hall 2
Goals Player  
Montreal T. Mitchell 2
New Jersey T. Hall 1
Assists Player  
Montreal B. Gallagher 2
New Jersey T. Hall 1
Saves Player  
Montreal C. Price 19
New Jersey C. Schneider 44
Season
Total Points Player  
Montreal M. Pacioretty 39
New Jersey T. Hall 32
Goals Player  
Montreal M. Pacioretty 20
New Jersey A. Henrique 14
Assists Player  
Montreal A. Radulov 26
New Jersey T. Hall 20
Saves Player  
Montreal C. Price 931
New Jersey C. Schneider 1011
Quickchart Matchup
Montreal Off vs  New Jersey Def
3 GF
2.83 GA
30.2 Shots
31.2 Shots
30 PP
24 PK
New Jersey Off vs  Montreal Def
2.22 GF
2.52 GA
27.3 Shots
29.8 Shots
21 PP
34 PK