MONTREAL — Nico Hischier scored twice, including the overtime winner, as the New Jersey Devils came from behind to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday afternoon.
Will Butcher also scored in regulation time for the visiting Devils (20-24-7) while rookie goalie Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 37-of-39 shots.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Phillip Danault scored for the Canadiens (28-18-6), who were playing the first game in a back-to-back set of afternoon matchups. Montreal hosts the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
Carey Price was serving his one-game suspension after declining an invitation to last week’s all-star game. Backup Antti Niemi dropped to 8-5-2 on the season with a 24-save effort.
The Canadiens were 14-2-2 when leading after two periods but a third-period equalizer by Hischier followed by his top-shelf winner at 1:56 of overtime gave the Devils a rare road victory.
New Jersey is 7-17-3 away from home.
Playing their first game in 10 days following their bye week, the Canadiens picked up right where they left off after winning five of their previous six games.
First-round draft pick Kotkaniemi opened the scoring for Montreal 5:22 into the game on a quick release glove side on Blackwood for his seventh of the year.
The 18-year-old centre ranks fourth among NHL rookies in scoring behind Vancouver’s Elias Petterson, Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin and Ottawa’s Colin White.
With the Devils playing 5-on-3 hockey, Butcher made it 1-1 with a one-timer from the point that beat Niemi top corner with 44 seconds left in the first period.
Montreal took control of the game in the second period, outshooting New Jersey 18-4.
In the second, Danault redirected Jeff Petry’s point shot past Blackwood to give the Canadiens a 2-1 lead at 16:33.
Seconds after failing to score on a power play, the Canadiens conceded a goal to New Jersey’s Hischier at 11:26 of the third, who got his stick on a loose puck in the slot to beat Niemi for his 15th of the season.
Claude Julien’s men went 0 for 3 with the man advantage.
Notes: Paul Byron made his return to the lineup following a three-game suspension for a dangerous hit to the head. … Travis Zajac (undisclosed injury) did not play for New Jersey.
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press