habs_devils_dec102011Match Up:

The Canadiens (15-9-3) start off December by playing host to the Devils (11-11-5) Monday night at the Bell Centre. The game is set to start at 7:30 and airs on RDS and TSN-Habs.

This is the first of three matches between the Habs and Devils, and the first half of a home and home series that sees these teams play in New Jersey on Wednesday. Last year, the Habs took two of three meetings against Devils, but lost the final match up 3-2 in New Jersey. The Habs went down 3-0 in that match and pulled to within 1 by the end of the second period, but they only managed 5 shots in the third allowing the Devs to secure the win.

What to Watch:

As a team, the Canadiens have been on fire over the past two weeks, earning 11 of a possible 12 points in their last 6 games. Max Pacioretty has 7 goals and an assist over that span, while PK Subban and Andrei Markov each have 6 points.

What’s more, the goaltending tandem of Carey Price and Peter Budaj have held the Habs competition to under 2 goals a game stretching back over the last 10 matches.

In his first season with the Devils, Jaromir Jagr is leading the team with 11 goals, 11 assists and 22 points. Former Hab Michael Ryder hasn’t gotten off to the best start with his new club, he has just 5 goals and 4 assists in 27 games so far.

What’s at Stake:

The Canadiens are rolling, their recent streak has brought them level with the Lightning and left them two points back of the Red Wings following Detroit’s Sunday night victory over the Sens. A nice cushion has formed between the Habs and the teams chasing a playoff spot, and the team can now start looking ahead of themselves in the standings instead of over their shoulder.

Who’s Out:

Davis Drewiske still out with a shoulder injury, every other Hab is healthy.

The Devils are without forwards, Ryan Carter (head), Stephen Gionta (ankle) and Ryan Clowe (concussion) as well as Adam Larsson (lower body) and team captain Bryce Salvador (foot).

What Else:

Martin Brodeur is expected to start in nets for the Devils on Monday. At 41, the Montreal native could be in the final year of his illustrious career. In 68 career starts against the Canadiens, Brodeur has 44 wins and 9 shut outs. In his hometown, Brodeur has 5 shut outs and 31 wins, including a pair of victories that date back to the old Montreal Forum.

The Question Mark:

Are there any active goalies in the NHL that could possibly match the type of career Martin Brodeur has enjoyed?

Let us know what you think by sending us a message on Twitter using the #MTLHockey hashtag, or leave us a comment below.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.