Islanders 6, Canadiens 3
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Radek Martinek's tie-breaking goal 7:56 into the third period Tuesday night gave the New York Islanders the lead for good in a 6-3 upset win over the Montreal Canadiens at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders (10-11-2) won their second straight -- the fifth time this season they have won two consecutive games -- to improve to 2-2-1 on a seven-game homestand and vault into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders were tied for 10th in the East entering play on Tuesday, three points behind the eighth-place Flyers, who visited the Rangers -- the Islanders' next opponent -- on Tuesday.
John Tavares' putback with 1:07 left cemented the win for the Islanders and Colin McDonald scored an empty netter with 16.5 seconds to play.
The Canadiens (14-5-4) came back from a 3-1 deficit thanks to power play goals by P.K. Subban and Brian Gionta late in the second and early in the third respectively, but still had their streak of 11 straight games with a point stopped. It was the longest point streak of the shootout era for Montreal, which entered Tuesday atop the Eastern Conference.
Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov was outstanding in the win as he stopped 29 of 32 shots.
Tomas Plekanec scored in the first for the Canadiens while goalie Carey Price made 18 saves.
The Islanders maximized their scoring chances, especially in the second period, when Matt Moulson, Matt Martin and Michael Grabner scored to put the Islanders up by two goals. Martin and Grabner scored their goals less than a minute apart.
Moulson tied it on a delayed coast-to-coast rush just 1:23 into the second. After the Islanders meandered in their end as John Tavares skated slowly to the bench following a big hit, Mark Streit raced up along the left side and threaded a pass across the ice through traffic to Moulson, who scored his seventh power play goal of the year and his 11th overall by firing the puck past Price.
The Islanders took the lead with another power play goal almost 11 minutes later. After squandering a chance to score during a 38-second 5-on-3 power play, Martin took a backward pass from Brad Boyes and beat Price for his second goal of the year.
New York extended the lead a mere 48 seconds later when Grabner backhanded the rebound of a slapshot by Thomas Hickey.
The Islanders, who have been prone to the hard-luck goal at home this season, surrendered another tally on a busted play 5:21 into the game. Martinek and the Canadiens' Michael Ryder collided pursuing the puck along the right boards and the puck skidded behind the net and to Alex Galchenyuk, who dished it to a wide-open Tomas Plekanec, who then beat Nabokov from point-blank range.
The Canadiens pulled within 3-2 at 16:49 of the second, when Subban capped a flurry of shots by Montreal by beating Nabokov with a sizzler from just beyond the faceoff circle.
Montreal tied it 6:07 into the third when Gionta put back Subban's slap shot, which had bounced off Nabokov's kneepads.
NOTES: Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky missed the game and will also miss Thursday's tilt against the Rangers after he traveled back home to Slovakia due to a family tragedy. Newsday reported the tragedy had nothing to do with Visnovsky's son, who underwent surgery in February. Visnovsky missed the first 10 games of the season after tending to his son. ... In addition to Visnovsky, the Islanders scratched center Keith Aucoin and winger Eric Boulton while the Canadiens scratched center Gabriel Dumont and defenseman Yannick Weber. ... Entering Tuesday, the Islanders were one of just four NHL teams with fewer wins than regulation losses, along with Winnipeg, Buffalo and Florida. ... The Canadiens' previous long point streak in the shootout era was a nine-game run from Feb. 4 through March 6, 2006, during which Montreal went 6-0-3. ... Montreal's five-game road trip marks just one of two times the Canadiens will play more than two consecutive road games this season. The Canadiens conclude the regular season schedule with a three-game road trip to New Jersey, Winnipeg and Toronto.
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