MONTREAL — Jake Evans scored late in the third period to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night in the first NHL pre-season game for both teams.
Artturi Lehkonen and Nate Thompson scored for the Canadiens in the first period and Nick Cousins added an empty-netter in the third.
Carey Price and Cayden Primeau shared goaltending duties. Price conceded one goal on nine shots while Primeau stopped 16-of-17 pucks.
Will Butcher and Michael McLeod scored for the split-squad Devils, who also hosted the Boston Bruins in another exhibition game at Prudential Center.
Mackenzie Blackwood started between the pipes for Jersey, stopping 11-of-13 shots through two periods. Evan Cormier made 11 saves in relief in the third.
Evans scored the short-handed winner with 2:28 remaining in the game when he stole the puck from a Devils player at his own blue-line and beat Cormier top shelf on a breakaway.
Cousins sealed it with an empty-net goal in the final minute of play.
Both Teams Featured NHL Regulars
There was a handful of regular NHL players for both teams, which is not always the case in early exhibition matches.
Max Domi, Shea Weber and Jonathan Drouin dressed for the Canadiens. Top prospect Ryan Poehling did not play.
Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri were on the ice for the Devils while P.K. Subban and Jack Hughes remained in New Jersey to face the Bruins.
The Canadiens scored twice on four shots in the game’s opening eight minutes.
Lehkonen got the first at 2:29 when he redirected Weber’s slap shot from the point past Blackwood.
Montreal went up 2-0 through Thompson’s rebound goal following a bad angle shot from Nick Cousins at 8:14.
Butcher cut the deficit for the Devils at 18:25 of the first with a precise top-corner shot on Price’s stick side.
After a scoreless second, a wicked bounce off the side boards gave McLeod a wide open net at 1:55 of the third while Primeau waited for the puck behind the net.
Besides that unlucky bounce, Primeau looked solid in net for the Canadiens. The New Jersey native robbed Blake Coleman with the glove on a 2-on-1 in the second period and stoned Palmieri in the third.
It was the first of seven pre-season games for the Canadiens, who travel to Bathurst, N.B., to play the Florida Panthers in exhibition play on Wednesday.
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press