June 21st, 2024

Toffoli scores hat trick, Hughes has four assists as Devils beat Canadiens 5-2

By Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press on October 24, 2023.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau (30) makes a save as New Jersey Devils' Timo Meier (28) looks on during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

MONTREAL – Former Canadien forward Tyler Toffoli scored a hat trick as the New Jersey Devils defeated Montreal 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Alexander Holtz and Nico Hischier also scored for New Jersey (3-1-1). Superstar Jack Hughes continued his hot start to the season with four assists. Vitek Vanecek stopped 27 shots.

Hughes, who entered the evening tied for third in league scoring, has 14 points in five games.

Justin Barron and Mike Matheson had the goals for Montreal (3-2-1), which was coming off a 3-1 road win against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau made 29 saves in his first start of the season. Montreal was one of five teams to start the year with three netminders on the roster.

The Devils went 2-for-4 on the power play. The Canadiens were 1-for-4.

Tied 1-1 late in the second period, Toffoli received a cross-ice pass from Hughes before burying a wrist shot past Primeau.

The 31-year-old Toffoli played parts of two seasons with the Canadiens, including a 28-goal campaign in 52 games before Montreal made the Stanley Cup final in 2020-21.

Hischier doubled New Jersey’s lead with a power-play goal 34 seconds into the third period, finishing off a Hughes feed at the side of the net.

Toffoli added another power-play goal minutes later with a wrist shot off the draw.

Matheson got one back for Montreal, which pulled the goalie on the power play with nine minutes left, scoring his first of the season after sliding the puck under Vanecek’s pads to complete an end-to-end rush.

The Canadiens pressed for the remainder of the period, with the goalie pulled for most of the final four minutes, however Toffoli added his third into the empty frame to secure the win for New Jersey.

Montreal started with a lead as Barron opened the scoring at 5:49 of the first period when he banged home a rebound off a Michael Pezzetta shot off an odd-man rush. The 21-year-old defenceman has two goals in three games this season.

Hischier appeared to tie the game just 74 seconds later but the goal was overturned after Montreal successfully challenged for goaltender interference.

Primeau bailed out his young defence corps on a number of occasions throughout the evening. Midway through the first he made a sensational cross-crease save where he dove and stretched his arms out to deny New Jersey forward Ondrej Palat.

The 24-year-old Primeau has played 22 games over the last five seasons with the Canadiens, but hasn’t managed to break into the NHL full-time.

“In this situation with three goalies, he had to be patient to get his opportunity,” head coach Martin St. Louis told reporters before the game. “He’s getting it tonight.”

Alexander Holtz, however, scored off a rebound seconds after a New Jersey power play to tie the game and get the Devils on the board with 6:36 left in the first.


The Canadiens announced during the game that veteran defenceman David Savard is out six-to-eight weeks with a fracture to his left hand.

Savard left Monday’s win in Buffalo midway through the third period after putting his body on the line and blocking multiple shots, one of which knocked off his skate blade, on the penalty kill.

“You can’t buy the experience that he has, so that’s a challenge. There aren’t a lot of citations that Savy hasn’t seen on the ice,” said St. Louis. “A young defenceman still has to learn those things.”

Savard, 33, joins centre Kirby Dach (knee, out for season) and defenceman Kaiden Guhle (upper body, day-to-day) as a recent addition to the Canadiens injured list.

Montreal recalled 25-year-old blueliner Gustav Lindstrom from AHL affiliate Laval on an emergency basis. Lindstrom made his season debut on Tuesday.


New Jersey: Hosts the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Montreal: Hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2023.

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