Coleman Scores Twice to Help Lift Devils over Struggling Canadiens

MONTREAL — Blake Coleman scored twice and added two assists as the New Jersey Devils defeated Montreal 6-4 Thursday night to hand the slumping Canadiens their sixth straight loss.

Travis Zajac, Miles Wood, Jesper Boqvist and Damon Severson also scored for the Devils (9-11-4) while Nikita Gusev had three assists for his first career multi-point game.

Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 44-of-48 shots for his eighth win of the year.

Brendan Gallagher, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Joel Armia and Artturi Lehkonen scored for the Canadiens (11-9-5). Carey Price made 28 saves in defeat.

The Canadiens have conceded at least four goals in five of their past six games. It’s also the 13th time they conceded at least four goals this season.

Their current six-game winless streak (0-4-2) began Nov. 16 with an overtime loss to the Devils at Bell Centre.

Leading 4-3 on Boqvist’s go-ahead goal, New Jersey added to its lead when Severson beat Price far side, top corner on an odd-man rush at 8:21 of the third. Price smashed his stick on the crossbar in frustration.

Blake Coleman, Nikita Gusev, Matt Tennyson,
New Jersey Devils’ Blake Coleman celebrates with teammates Nikita Gusev and Matt Tennyson (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

Lehkonen was left alone in the slot and got one right back for Montreal 17 seconds later. But that’s as close as the Canadiens would get, as Coleman added an empty-netter with 1:16 left on the clock.

New Jersey has beaten Montreal in seven straight contests.

The Canadiens outshot the Devils 48-35 but the visitors had an answer for everything Montreal threw at them.

Gallagher made it 1-1 at 7:41 of the first by poking the puck between Blackwood’s pads. Zajac scored 36 seconds later by redirecting a bouncing puck past Price on a 2-on-1 with Gusev.

After Kotkaniemi levelled the score 1:40 into the second — the young centre’s first goal since Oct. 9 — and Wood made it 3-2 for New Jersey 1:36 later on a breakaway with Montreal caught changing.

Moments after Taylor Hall failed to score on a partial break, Armia got the Canadiens level again with a wrist shot from the face-off dot, glove-side on Blackwood at 9:02.

Joel Armia, Montreal Canadiens
Joel Armia, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

But the Devils were quick to respond again as Boqvist put Nico Hischier’s rebound behind Price 1:26 later following a turnover in the neutral zone.

Price conceded four goals on the first 21 shots he faced. The Canadiens goalie gave up 11 goals on 45 shots in his previous two starts — losses to the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins.

P.K. Subban was playing his seventh game against his former team. The Devils defenceman got into a brief altercation with Gallagher in the third period, trading punches after the whistle.

Coleman scored the game’s opening goal 7:19 into the first on a perfectly played 2-on-1 with Gusev.


Montreal dropped to 6-6-2 at Bell Centre this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2019.

Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press