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Thu, Mar 12, 2009 - 7:30 PM ET
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Okposo's OT goal lifts Islanders over Canadiens

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MONTREAL (AP)

Kyle Okposo took advantage of an extended opportunity to stretch his goals streak to four games. Okposo's goal 26 seconds into overtime gave the New York Islanders a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Okposo got his 16th goal when he outmaneuvered Montreal defenseman Mathieu Schneider to recover a loose puck before slipping a shot under Carey Price's pads from the right edge of the crease. "The puck just kind of hit my foot, and I couldn't find it forever," Okposo said. "Schneider and I were battling and I finally kicked it up to my stick and just tried to get it on net. I don't even know how it went in." Former Canadiens goalie Yann Danis made 24 saves as the Islanders, who have the fewest points in the NHL, improved to 2-1 against Montreal this season. New York is 5-1-2 in its last eight. "I spoke to him last week and asked him if he wanted to play against Montreal and his eyes lit up," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "It was obviously a great feeling for him to come back here, and he did a great job in the first, especially the first half of the period. Montreal came out hard and set the tempo early and we weathered the storm, and a lot of it was because of the play of Yann." Danis, who debuted with Montreal in 2005-06, was delighted to get an opportunity to face his former team again in the wake of a 5-4 home loss to the Canadiens on Nov. 1. He allowed four straight goals after being staked to a 4-1 lead. "I was really looking forward to this game to bounce back, and to have it here is something special," Danis said. "I can't thank enough the guys. I think they showed up tonight and they played a really hard game." Frans Nielsen's power-play goal early in the third gave New York a 2-1 lead after rookie Mike Iggulden tied the game at 1 with his first NHL tally midway through the first. Tom Kostopoulos drew Montreal even at 2 midway through the third. Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring with his 19th goal on a power play 5:04 in. Carey Price stopped 36 shots, including a spectacular glove save on Jeff Tambellini's shot with 55 seconds remaining in regulation to help Montreal secure a point. "It's a huge point for us to lose," Kostopoulos said. "I mean, if it wasn't for our goalie we would have lost two points. We've got to change our second period, something's going on there, we've got to get more emotion and better forechecking. In the second, we seemed to sit back." The Canadiens are 1-0-1 in two games since general manager Bob Gainey took over as coach after firing Guy Carbonneau. "I think they get out of synch with the play on the ice and we get trapped in our zone with tired players more than we can afford to," Gainey said. "Tired players do not respond or react to whatever situation is there. "We sometimes give off the impression that we look like we are a deer trapped in the headlights because the players have more instinct than that, but whether it's tightness, the other team is taking advantage of our hesitation and our lack of assertiveness and confidence to play simple plays." Nielsen put the Islanders up 2-1 when he deflected Mark Streit's point shot past Price for a power-play goal 51 seconds into the third. Montreal was short-handed after Gregory Stewart had an unsportsmanlike conduct minor added to his fighting major for his bout with Tim Jackman 7 seconds into the period. Kostopoulos directed Andrei Markov's centering pass into an open right side at 9:14 for his eighth goal. Plekanec opened the scoring 5:04 in with a power-play goal moments after he had one disallowed on an earlier advantage. He circled back and beat Danis with a wrist shot from the right circle for his 19th goal. Montreal missed an opportunity to take a two-goal lead while killing a penalty moments later when Danis stopped Chris Higgins on a short-handed breakaway. Iggulden tied it at 11:33. Iggulden, who had four assists in his first three games after he was recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL on Saturday, took Blake Comeau's centering pass from behind the net and put a shot past Price. "It's great," Iggulden said. "I've worked really hard down in the AHL for about four years and to finally get an opportunity to play in the NHL, it's just been amazing. I'm just trying to work as hard as I can and hopefully make a good impression on my coach, my teammates and the organization." Referee Don Koharski immediately waved off Plekanec's goal 1:46 in. A video review backed up Koharski's ruling that Plekanec's stick made contact above the crossbar when he batted a rebound of Andrei Markov's shot.

Notes

Danis went 3-2 and posted a 2.69 goals-against-average in six games with Montreal early in the 2005-06 season, including a shutout in his NHL debut. ... Iggulden made his NHL debut with San Jose last season and failed to record a point in his only game. ... Alex Kovalev had the flu and didn't dress for Montreal. ... Canadiens D Patrice Brisebois was a healthy scratch for a fourth straight game. His next game will be the 1,000th of his career.
Tagged: Canadiens, Islanders

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