MONTREAL — Charles Hudon had the eventual winner as the Montreal Canadiens scored three unanswered goals in 92 seconds en route to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday in their pre-season home opener at Bell Centre.
Victor Mete and Jesperi Kotkaniemi also scored for the Canadiens.
Blake Speers had a short-handed goal for the Devils.
Eddie Lack made 13 saves and didn’t allow a goal through 40 minutes before ceding the net to Mackenzie Blackwood.
New Jersey opened the scoring when Speers picked off a pass from Habs defencemen Simon Despres at the Devils’ blue line. Speers sped up ice with the puck and fired it past Niemi.
The Canadiens best chance of the first period came when Tomas Plekanec fed Hunter Shinkaruk a pass in the slot. Shinkaruk took a second before shooting, only to be stymied Lack’s right pad in the Devils net.
Montreal left-winger Nicolas Deslauriers was injured in the first period after he fought Devils forward Brandon Baddock. Deslauriers took a punch to the face, but ultimately won the fight. Both players were handed five minute major penalties, but Deslauriers didn’t return to the ice for the rest of the game.
Kotkaniemi set up a quality chance early in the third period when he fed Hudon with a spin pass. Hudon, however, couldn’t solve Blackwood.
The Devils had a goal disallowed in the third when Blake Coleman tried to put the puck past Charlie Lindgren on a rebound. Coleman then pushed Lindgren in to the net, resulting in the goal being waived off.
Mete tied the game at 3:08 in the third period, after Michael Chaput passed the young defenceman the puck from behind the Devils’ net.
Hudon then scored the go-ahead goal for the Canadiens over a minute later, firing the puck from the boards and past Blackwood.
Kotkaniemi added an insurance goal for Montreal, capping off a sequence of three goals in over 90 seconds. The Canadiens’ 2018 first-round pick drew overly loud cheers from the crowd as his goal was announced to the fans in attendance.
Montreal has six more games in its pre-season schedule, including three more home games. The Habs will host the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.
NOTES: The Devils split their squad Monday, with some of their players in Montreal and others in New Jersey where they lost 4-3 in overtime to the New York Rangers Monday night.