MONTREAL – Carey Price repeatedly smashing his stick on the crossbar in frustration perfectly summed up the Montreal Canadiens’ struggles.
The Canadiens lost their sixth straight game in a mistake-filled 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Price broke his stick after New Jersey’s fifth goal — Damon Severson’s winner in the third period.
“We know how good he is, it’s not his fault,” teammate Brendan Gallagher said about Price. “That’s on us. We make the mistakes. You can’t give up these high-danger chances. Too many chances against. Until we correct it, we’re going to continue having this feeling.”
Blake Coleman had two goals and two assists for New Jersey, Travis Zajac, Miles Wood, Jesper Boqvist and Damon Severson also scored and Nikita Gusev had three assists for his first career multi-point game. Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 44 shots to help New Jersey beat Montreal for the seventh straight game.
Four of New Jersey’s goals came off odd-man rushes or breakaways.
“They were aggressive, they were pinching,” Devils forward Taylor Hall said. “With their game lately, they were going to be a little overzealous to get in and pinch. If you can beat that fore-check, that pressure, there are going to be odd-man rushes.”
Gallagher, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Joel Armia and Artturi Lehkonen scored for Montreal. The Canadiens are 0-4-2 on the skid that began Nov. 16 with an overtime loss to the Devils at Bell Centre. They have conceded at least four goals in five of their past six games.
“If I’m being honest, I don’t feel for Carey Price because he’s the best goaltender in the world,” former teammate P.K. Subban said. “Is he going to bounce back? I can guarantee you he will. But he can’t be the best goaltender every night.”
Boqvist gave the Devils a 4-3 lead midway through the second period, beating Carey Price off a rebound.
Severson made it 5-3 at 8:21 of the third with a shot to the top corner on an odd-man rush. Price smashed his stick on the crossbar in frustration.
Lehkonen scored 16 later for Montreal, and Coleman added an empty-netter with 1:16 left.
Aliu knocks apology
Akim Aliu is not happy with the apology Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters issued for a racial slur he allegedly used when both were in the minors 10 years ago.
The former NHL player released his own statement Thursday on Twitter, saying he found Peters’ statement a day earlier acknowledging that he used offensive language to be “misleading, insincere and concerning.”
Aliu said he has accepted an invitation from the NHL to discuss the situation and would not comment further until after the meeting.
Peters issued a letter Wednesday night to multiple media outlets, apologizing to the Flames and general manager Brad Treliving. The letter did not mention the Nigerian-born Aliu or specify the words Peter used. He called it an “isolated and immediately regrettable incident.”