NEWARK, N.J. — Jack Hughes had two goals and was one of four Devils to score in a seven-round shootout as New Jersey came back after blowing a two-goal lead and beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Sunday night.
Jesper Bratt, Dougie Hamilton and Yegor Sharangovich also tallied in the shootout, with Sharangovich getting the fourth goal.
Hughes said the Devils should not have let the game go to overtime by allowing Rem Pitlick to tie it in the final minute of regulation.
“I guess just take the two points,” Hughes said of winning in the shootout. “You’ve got to win in different ways and that was a good win tonight. Not to let them come from behind, but they had all the momentum heading in the OT, so for us to come out and win, that’s a a big win for us.”
Nico Daws sealed the shootout win, stopping Paul Byron on the Canadiens’ last attempt. Cole Caufield, Pitlick and Mike Hoffman tallied in the long shootout for Montreal.
Canadiens interim head coach Martin St. Louis refused to say the loss was disappointing, considering his team rallied.
“I felt like we got better as the game went on, tied it up late,” he said. “It’s our third game in four nights, so I’m happy with the way the guys fought and crawled back and almost won it.”
Bratt and Nico Hischier hit goalposts for New Jersey in the five-minute overtime and Anderson had a shot go off both goalposts. Play stopped and a review showed the puck did not go in the net.
Devils coach Lindy Ruff said the overtime period was a rollercoaster, twice thinking his team won and then believing it had lost on Hoffman’s shot.
“I thought we generated the opportunities during the game,” Ruff said. “I thought their goaltender was real good, but I thought our goaltender was real good. So it was nice to see the guys get rewarded with a win.”
Daws finished with 31 saves as the Devils improved to 9-0-2 against the Canadiens since 2017-18.
The Canadiens forced the overtime on Pitlick’s 13th goal of the season. It came with the Canadiens’ net empty and 42 seconds left in regulation.
Josh Anderson also scored in regulation, while Sam Montembeault made 30 saves for Montreal.
Hughes staked the Devils to a 2-0 lead, thanks to one major mistake by Montembeault and a great pass by Bratt on a power play.
The Canadiens goaltender set up Hughes’ first goal by making an errant pass from his crease. Hughes intercepted it in the right circle and ripped it into the net with 46 seconds left in the first period.
Montembeault said the Canadiens were all changing shifts when he got the puck in the crease, adding he didn’t want to play to puck toward his bench and get a too many men on the ice call.
“I tried to go on my backhand and I was not even close,” he said.
Hughes got his 24th of the season from the same circle at 14:14 of the second period. It extended Bratt’s points streak to a career-high seven games (two goals, eight assists).
Anderson got Montreal back into the game a little more than three minutes later, tipping a shot by Jesse Ylonen past Daws. It came just after a two-man Canadiens’ advantage expired.
NOTES: Devils F Andreas Johnsson was scratched because of an illnesss. … D Justin Barron made his debut for the Canadiens. A 2020 first-round draft pick, he was acquired from Colorado along with a second-round pick in 2024 for Artturi Lehkonen. … Montreal D Joel Edmundson played in his 400th NHL game.
Devils F Miles Wood played for the first time this season. The 26-year-old missed the first 65 games after having hip surgery in November. He had 17 goals in 55 games last season.
Devils players wore military-inspired warmup jerseys before the game. They were put up for auction, with the proceeds benefitting Operation Gratitude. It is a nonprofit dedicated to providing Americans with opportunities for hands-on volunteerism in support of military, veterans and first responders.
Canadiens: At Florida on Tuesday in the second game of a four-game road trip.
Devils: At Boston on Thursday.