MONTREAL (AP) Tyler Toffoli had a hat trick against his former team, leading the New Jersey Devils to a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

“It was nice to get the first one, having not scored since coming (back),” said Toffoli, who failed to score in his first game against his former team. “Once that happened, it felt like I was just getting a ton of opportunities and very fortunate for sure.”

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

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

Justin Barron and Mike Matheson scored for Montreal, which was coming off a 3-1 win at Buffalo on Monday.

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

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.

“I thought he played well, I thought he gave us a chance,” head coach Martin St. Louis said of the 24-year-old Primeau. “Their offense was spinning us around, and he hasn’t played a lot, so I thought he played a good game.”

The Devils went 2 for 4 on the power play, which is clicking at a league-best 44% to start the season.

“It’s something we’ve worked hard on, I think our guys have matured,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “It’s really come together, both groups. We know there will be a few games it doesn’t click, but you gotta make hay when the sun is shining.”

The Canadiens were 1 for 4 with a man advantage.

Tied at 1 late in the second period, Toffoli took a cross-ice pass from Hughes and buried a wrist shot past Primeau.

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

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

Toffoli added a power-play goal minutes later, scoring on a wrist shot off the draw.

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

The Canadiens pressed with the goalie pulled for most of the final four minutes, but Toffoli scored his third into an empty net.

“I really wanted it … your job out there is obviously to prevent them from scoring, but if you get the opportunity to score and put the game away, that’s what you’re out there to do,” said Toffoli, who missed on a couple chances to complete the hat trick.

Montreal opened the scoring when Barron banged in a rebound of a shot by Michael Pezzetta at 5:49 of the first period.

Alexander Holtz scored off a rebound seconds after a New Jersey power play to tie the game with 6:36 left in the first.


Veteran Canadiens defenseman 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 blocking multiple shots, one of which knocked off his skate blade, on the penalty kill.

The 33-year-old Savard joins centre Kirby Dach (knee) and defenceman Kaiden Guhle (upper body) as a recent addition to the Canadiens injured list.

Montreal recalled 25-year-old Gustav Lindstrom its AHL affiliate.


Devils: Open a three-game homestand against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Canadiens: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday in the second game of a three-game homestand.



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