About Last Night: Young goal scorers lead the way over Devils

Joshua Roy scored his first NHL goal to help lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.

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Joshua Roy scored his first NHL goal in a 3-2 win for the Montreal Canadiens against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Wednesday night.

The win was Montreal’s second straight in regulation. Sam Montembeault started in goal and made 28 saves. The performance lifted his save percentage to .910 on the season.

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Every so often you’re reminded of just how young this Habs team is. Case in point: last night’s goal scorers were 19, 20 and 23 years old. The 20-year-old was Roy, who not only scored for the first time in the NHL, he fired five shots on Devils goalie Nico Daws. Like Jayden Struble before him, if he’s up to the challenge, they’ll find room for him in the lineup.

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According to Sportsnet Stats, Roy and Slafkovsky are the first Canadiens teammates 20 or younger to score in the same road game since Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk in 2013.

Slafkovsky scored the lone goal in the first period, but let’s be real, the highlight was Caufield’s mid-air bunt from behind the net to Slafkovsky in front. Habs lead 1-0 after one.

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In the second, Roy made Habs history on a play that started with a botched line change for the Devils, followed by Slafkovsky’s Slovakian draft-classmate Simon Nemec losing track of the puck. Sean Monahan found Roy jumping in for his first of two assists on the night. Joel Armia also got his first assist of the season.

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With 44 seconds left in the middle frame, Nick Suzuki took a high-sticking double minor, and on a fresh sheet of ice in the third period, the Devils made him pay. First up was Luke Hughes, who fired a shot through traffic to beat Montembeault and put New Jersey on the board.

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That goal came 47 seconds into the period, meaning Suzuki had to serve another two minutes or less. At 1:38 of the third period, the Devils struck again with the man-advantage. Nemec made up for his earlier faux pas by feeding Alexander Holtz a perfect one-timer pass, and Holtz tied it up 2-2.

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Overtime was looming, but with 4:31 left in regulation, Caufield continued his hot streak, tucking home the rebound from a Jordan Harris shot for his sixth goal in his last 10 games. It also gave him two points on the night.

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Habs fans have been lamenting all season that the team doesn’t win much in regulation, and rightfully so. They came into the week with only six regulation wins all season, but just like that, the team rifled off two in impressive fashion. And against worthy opponents, no less. Caufield is heating up, and he’s bringing Slafkovsky along for the ride: they’re showing chemistry on the top line. Here’s last night’s impact card for Hockey Stat Cards. More games like that, and Roy may not see Laval ever again:

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It might just be a coincidence, but Slafkovsky has so far produced more on the road in his young career, to the tune of 21 of 27 career points.

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Whether it’s at home or on the road, the liveblog commenters are liking what they see from Slafkovsky on the top line. The young players throughout the lineup are giving the commenters hope for the future, whether it’s Roy already gaining enough confidence three games in to get five shots, Jayden Struble’s zone exit leading to a goal, or Rafaël Harvey-Pinard blocking a shot in the final minute to protect the lead.

3. “Struble out in last minute. Shows how much MSL trusts the rookie.” — Bob Taylor

2. “Not sure if we can call that another comeback win since we were never down, but we did not fold after they tied it up… good stuff!” — Haari Meech

1. “Lousy games against Philly and SJ, great games against Ed, Col, and now NJ. Mark of a young team is inconsistency. On the other hand, while we lament their inability to hold leads, the Habs are still undefeated when leading after two periods. This team does not quit. So much more fun to watch than back during the Therrien and Julien regimes.” — Michael Way

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