MONTREAL (AP) — Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 Saturday night.
Nathan Bastian and Tomas Tatar also scored to help the Devils get their sixth win in eight games (6-1-1) and move two points behind Carolina for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes lost 4-0 to Vegas. Akira Schmid had 23 saves.
“You’ve got to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “When a game gets to 2-1, there’s some uncomfortable moments. The other team’s gonna have a push, they have some good players. (Jonathan Drouin) rang one off the post in the third.
“You have to be able to win a game 2-1 sometimes and wait for your opportunities.”
Denis Gurianov scored for Montreal, and Jake Allen finished with 34 saves. The Canadiens, who blocked 25 shots, have lost six straight (0-4-2).
“I think we played a good game, we had a lot of turnovers in the first period and we needed to defend ourselves, but we did that well,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “We didn’t give them much so I was happy about that.
“We improved in the second period on that side, playing behind them a little more. This is a good team, credit to them. They are really fast, they don’t give a lot of space but I think we’ve managed that well.”
Bastian picked up a loose puck behind the goal, came around the right side, turned and fired a shot past Allen for his sixth goal of the season to put the Devils up 1-0 at 8:24 of the first period.
Hischier made it 2-0 with 1:01 left in the opening period as he redirected a pass in from from Damon Severson for his 28th.
The Canadiens got on the scoreboard with 1:37 left in the second as Rem Pitlick stole the puck away from Devils defenseman Damon Severson behind the goal line and sent a pass in front for Gurianov, who quickly beat Schmid for his fourth.
Tatar capped the scoring with an empty-netter with 90 seconds remaining in the third period. It was his 15th goal.
“I think we’re doing a lot of good stuff right now,” Tatar said. “Obviously, in some games you get certain puck luck when we bring the points home, but I think overall we’re very happy with where the game is.”
SETTING A RECORD
With a secondary assist on the Devils’ second goal of the night, forward Dawson Mercer extended his point streak to 12 games. At 21 years, 133 days old, Mercer broke the franchise record for longest point streak for a skater under the age of 22.
“What I’m noticing from Dawson is he’s playing a great 200-foot game right now,” Tatar said of his teammate. “He’s very good in every zone on the ice and it’s fun to watch.”
Brendan Shanahan held the previous mark as the Hockey Hall of Famer was 21 years and 65 days old when he set the franchise record between March 8-29, 1990. Only four Devils players have longer point streaks: Taylor Hall (19 in 2017-18), Brian Gionta (15 in 2005-06), Patrik Elias (15 in 1999-00 & 13 GP in 2000-01) and Petr Sykora (13 in 2000-01).