Taylor Hall’s short-handed breakaway goal at 15:31 of the third period gave the visiting New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night.
Hall scored as he came out of the penalty box after serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice. He netted the first short-handed goal of his NHL career, beating Canadiens goaltender Carey Price with a quick shot to the stick side.
The breakaway resulted after Travis Zajac alertly chipped the puck through two Montreal defenders from inside the New Jersey zone at the end of a five-on-three situation. With the goal, Hall extended his points streak to eight games. It was his seventh game-winner of the season.
The Devils moved closer to qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12. They now have eight wins in their past 11 games. New Jersey is in contention for either third place in the Metropolitan Division, which guarantees postseason participation or an Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers are tied for third in the Metro at 94 points, one point ahead of New Jersey. The Devils, who have three games left, are seven points in front of the Florida Panthers, who have five games remaining, for the second Eastern Conference wild card.
The Canadiens, who previously were eliminated from the playoff race, took their 12th loss in the past 15 games.
Nico Hischier also scored for the Devils, who overcame a 1-0 first-period with two third-period goals.
Daniel Carr tallied for Montreal, which scored on 1 of 4 power plays. The Devils were blanked on five — but in the end, it didn’t matter.
New Jersey goaltender Keith Kinkaid stopped 25 of 26 shots for the win. Price registered 30 saves on 32 shots as he played his 556th NHL game, all with Montreal, to tie Jacques Plante for the most games played by a goaltender in Canadiens history.
Carr opened the scoring on a power play at 19:51 of the first period as he beat Kinkaid with a long wrist shot following an odd-man rush. New Jersey coach John Hynes challenged the goal on grounds that the Canadiens were offside, but the marker was allowed to stand following a video review.
The Devils were assessed a delay-of-game penalty as a result of the unsuccessful challenge, but the Habs could not capitalize on the power play. Neither team could score in the second period, either.
Hischier created a 1-1 tie just 26 seconds into the third period as he deflected in Sami Vatanen’s shot from the point.
—Field Level Media