By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils’ slim playoff hopes got even slimmer after a pair of rare home-ice overtime losses to the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens.READ MORE: Events Across NYC Commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day
On Monday night, New Jersey let a pair of brief two-goal leads slip away in the third period and lost in overtime, 4-3, to Montreal at the Prudential Center.
Alex Galchenyuk’s power play game-winner for the Canadiens was just the second overtime goal for Montreal against the Devils in New Jersey club history.
The only other Montreal overtime win against the Devils in New Jersey was on Oct. 13, 1989, with Stephan LeBeau scoring the winner at 2:50 of sudden death against Chris Terreri to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win.
Alexander Radulov, who had three assists for Montreal in their 3-1 win over New Jersey on Jan. 20, had a goal to go along with another three assists Monday night.
The last Canadiens player to have a four-point game against the Devils was Claude Lemieux, who had three goals and an assist in a 7-3 Montreal win at New Jersey on Oct. 14, 1988.
On Saturday night, the Devils rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 third-period lead, but ultimately lost in overtime, 4-3, to the Rangers.
Mika Zibanejad scored the game-winner 1:16 into overtime for the Rangers. It was just the second regular season sudden-death win for the Rangers over the Devils in New Jersey in club history.READ MORE: Students In Seton Hall Leadership Program Carry On Principles Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Kevin Klein scored the only other regular season overtime goal for the Rangers in a game played in New Jersey on Oct. 21, 2014, in a 4-3 New York win.
Kyle Palmieri scored twice for the Devils in the overtime loss. His goals were scored in a span of 47 seconds in the third period. The fastest two goals scored by a Devils player in franchise history were scored by Jeff Friesen, 26 seconds apart in the second period of a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Jan. 13, 2003 at the Meadowlands.
On Feb. 21, New Jersey lost to Ottawa, 2-1, at the Prudential Center, finished its season series with the Senators 0-3-0 for the first time in their history.
The only other season that New Jersey failed to win a game vs. Ottawa was in 2012-13 (0-1-2). The Devils scored just two goals overall in the three games, their fewest against any opponent in a season with at least three games played.
• 2016-17: Ottawa, 2 goals in 3 games (0-3-0)
• 2015-16: Tampa Bay, 3 goals in 3 games (0-3-0)
• 2012-13: Toronto, 3 goals in 3 games (0-3-0)
• 2012-13: Ottawa, 3 goals in 3 games (0-1-2)
• 2000-01: Buffalo, 3 goals in 4 games (0-4-0)
• 1987-88: Winnipeg: 3 goals in 3 games (0-2-1)
• 1983-84: Minnesota: 3 goals in 3 games (1-2-0)
Travis Zajac scored goals in both of the Devils’ overtime losses to move past former Kansas City Scouts/ Colorado Rockies right wing Wilf Paiement for ninth all-time in franchise history with his 154 career goals.
Top 10 goal scorers in franchise history:
1. Patrik Elias, 408
2. John MacLean, 347
3. Bobby Holik, 202
4. Zach Parise, 194
5. Kirk Muller, 185
6. Pat Verbeek, 170
7. Petr Sykora, 166
8. Aaron Broten, 162
9. Travis Zajac, 154
10. Wilf Paiment, 153
Zajac has now played in 760 career games in his NHL career (all with New Jersey), tying Randy McKay for ninth all-time in franchise history. Only Ken Daneyko (1,283), Patrik Elias (1,240) and Sergei Brylin (765) have played more games as Devils without playing for any other NHL ream.
Plus: Kyle Palmieri. The Devils right wing had a goal and an assist in the overtime loss to Montreal and now has seven points (four goals, three assists) over his last four games.MORE NEWS: 15-Year-Old Girl Killed In Suspected Hit-And-Run On Brooklyn Street
Minus: Loser Points. New Jersey’s overtime losses to the Rangers and Canadiens dropped their record to 8-12 in games decided after regulation. The 12 defeats are second only to Toronto’s 13 for the most in the NHL in 2016-17.