After playing nearly a perfect game against the Hurricanes Tuesday night, Montreal traveled to Long Island looking to continue their momentum. This was a game to be weary of however, as the New York Islanders are one of those teams that can catch you off guard if you take them lightly. The first period was fairly even, with both teams benefiting from two power plays that neither team scored on. The most significant part of the first came when Evgeni Nabokov slid across his crease to stop a heavy shot from Yannick Weber. Nabokov laid on the ice after the save and had to be helped off the ice by his teammates. This forced Rick Dipietro to enter the game, a goalie that has had his fair share of injuries as well.
Both teams made up for the lack of scoring in the first period when they combined to score a total of six in the second. New York was the first to get on the board when PA Parenteau scored 41 seconds into the period. Parenteau was able to get the easy goal after Peter Budaj failed to stop the puck behind his net. The puck took a bad bounce and made its way to the front of the net where Parenteau popped it into the empty cage.
Less than three minutes later New York added to their lead when they took advantage of a disorganized defensive coverage by the Habs. Josh Bailey used this distraction to find Jay Pandolfo at the side of the net, who then proceeded to tip it in past Budaj. The Islanders did not stop there as six minutes later Mark Streit scored a one handed tip-in on yet another Habs defensive break down.
Now down by three, the Habs started to gain a bit of life as they started to cycle the puck in the Islanders zone. This led to Lars Eller causing a turnover before making a quick pass to Max Pacioretty. The pass was right on the tape and Patches blasted the puck past Dipietro on the one timer. A little less than three minutes later, the Habs went back to the attack getting another goal to make it a one goal game. The goal came off of a Rafael Diaz shot that squirted loose and bounced off of traffic. With Dipietro down on the play, Erik Cole jumped on the loose puck and hit the back of the net.
The Habs comeback was stifled on the very next shift when Matt Moulson benefited from another broken play in the Habs. After watching his teammate fan on a shot Moulson grabbed the loose puck and restored New York’s two goal lead. With four goals allowed, Jacques Martin started to tinker with his lines hoping to find a spark but they would exit the period down by two.
Montreal’s new lines generated few chances in the first half of the third period as New York controlled most of the play forcing Budaj to make a number of saves. This continued until Montreal benefited from two power plays in the period. The Habs came close on the first one when Michael Cammalleri missed a wide open net from where he likes to shoot it from. Cammalleri made up for that miss during the second power play, when his shot/pass made its way to a wide open Brian Gionta at the side of the net. Gionta did have to show great coordination as he had to knock the puck down with his knee before putting it in for his fifth goal of the season.
Montreal went looking for the tying goal in the remaining minutes but ran out of time as they were unable to beat Dipietro. Dipietro’s best save of the sequence came on the very last shot of the period with less than ten seconds to go. Cammalleri had managed to get in position and shot a one timer right off the face-off but it was not in the cards.
The Habs will have to go back to the drawing board and attempt to fix their defensive mistakes as their next opponent is a much more dangerous offensive team. The New York Rangers will be at the Bell Center Saturday night and they currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The good news is that they are only four points ahead of the twelfth place Canadiens and Montreal could bring that gap to two points with a regulation win.
HiD Three Stars
- Matt Moulson
- Matt Martin
- Tomas Plekanec
HiD Turning Point
Matt Moulson’s late second period goal turned out to be the deciding factor in this game.