New Jersey Devils vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 24th 2024

The New Jersey Devils are mired in a dreadful power-play slump and feeling frustration about the lack of results.

With just two goals in their past 46 chances with the man advantage spanning 14 games, the Devils hope to turn things around on Saturday afternoon against the Montreal Canadiens in Newark, N.J. The Canadiens are one of the NHL’s worst penalty-killing teams.

The Devils owned a 28.8 power-play percentage after Luke Hughes and Alexander Holtz scored 51 seconds apart in the third period during a double-minor to captain Nick Suzuki in a 3-2 home loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 17. Since then, their power-play clip has declined to 22 percent.

On Thursday, New Jersey had five power plays for the 14th time this season but went scoreless on those chances in a 5-1 home loss to the New York Rangers. The Devils had a five-minute power-play early in the first period and a four-minute man advantage midway through the second.

“I imagine you’ve asked every player — now they’re feeling it and you guys (media) are creating excess pressure,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said before storming out of his postgame press conference one question later.

“Us as a staff will go through that power play. We change things up, we met with individual groups tonight — as opposed to when you meet with all 10 or 11 of your guys. We’ll go through the whole thing again and just try to get better.”

New Jersey fell to 6-7-1 in its past 14 games and took its second straight lopsided loss since last Saturday’s rousing 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stadium Series.

The Devils took 12 shots on goal during their power plays and are scoreless in their past 16 opportunities since Tyler Toffoli scored in the second period of a 2-1 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 15.

“We got to score on so many opportunities in a power play,” Devils captain Nico Hischier said. “We weren’t sharp enough in the first power play; It was better but just couldn’t find the back of the net and it is what it is. We’ll work on it, flush it right now and move on.”

The Canadiens won their last visit to New Jersey despite allowing two power-play goals. Montreal has allowed multiple power-play goals 14 times and enters Saturday 29th in the NHL in penalty-killing at 73.6 percent.

Montreal saw its losing streak reach four games and fell to 1-6-0 over its past seven with a 4-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Thursday. Mike Matheson scored the lone goal in the first period but the Canadiens gave up four straight tallies and were scoreless on three power-play chances.

During their current skid, the Canadiens have been outscored 18-8 and have allowed four power-play goals on 10 opportunities.

“I think it’s a bit of a case where we have a lot of good stretches of hockey throughout each game, then just kind of one little stretch that bites us,” Matheson said. “That’s the most difficult thing is to be consistent.”

–Field Level Media

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