Canadiens 3, Islanders 1
Alex Auld had gone nine months since his last NHL victory. It’s
not as bad as it might appear because the veteran goalie only
played four games in that long span.
Auld made 30 saves in his season debut with workhorse goalie
Carey Price getting a rare night off, and Benoit Pouliot and Travis
Moen scored in the third period for the Montreal Canadiens, who
beat the New York Islanders 3-1 on Friday night for their fourth
The 29-year-old Auld, who hadn’t won since Jan. 29, beat the
Islanders for the first time in five starts. He didn’t show much
rust despite not playing since March 6 while with the New York
”First games, you have that deposit of nervous energy that
comes with a new group and a new team,” Auld said. ”You have to
control that emotion and make sure it’s not too high.
His best stop came 4:15 into the second period when he thwarted
Matt Moulson’s short-handed breakaway
”I’ve been feeling good and feeling ready,” Auld said. ”I
waited like this before so it was nothing new for me. You want to
play and help the team win and hopefully get another shot.”
The Canadiens were locked in a tight, tied game in the third
when Pouliot and Jeff Halpern connected for a precision passing
play that put Montreal back on top. Pouliot, the trail man on a
3-on-2 rush, took a back pass from Halpern from the right circle
dot and snapped a shot past goalie Dwayne Roloson 7:19 into the
”I was yelling at him to pass,” Pouliot said. ”He did a great
play and he heard me at the last minute when the ‘D’ closed up on
him. It was a perfect pass.”
Travis Moen deflected a pass from captain Brian Ginota for an
insurance goal with 1:49 left.
Montreal swept the home-and-home series from the Islanders, and
handed New York its first regulation loss at Nassau Coliseum
(2-1-1) and third consecutive loss overall. The Canadiens, who have
won six of seven, are 11-0-3 against the Islanders since the start
of the 2007-08 season.
Tomas Plekanec scored for the third straight game to give the
Canadiens (7-2-1) a 1-0 lead in the first period. Matt Martin
answered in the second for the Islanders with his first NHL goal.
Roloson made 23 saves, but lost Montreal for the second time in
Martin got the Islanders even with 3:15 left in the second when
he took a perfect feed from Frans Nielsen from the end boards and
one-timed a shot from the slot past Auld.
”The coaches tell me to get in front of the net, so that’s what
I do,” the 21-year-old Martin said. ”The goal feels great, but it
would have been better if we won.”
In the closing seconds of the period, Martin was finishing up a
hardworking shift in which he landed several hits but then had to
deal with 6-foot-7 Hal Gill, who came in to protect his teammates.
Martin dropped the gloves first and then held on.
Montreal was outshot 13-4 in the second, but was successful on
the defensive end in killing New York’s 5-on-3 power play that
lasted for 1:43 midway through the frame. The short-handed
situation was made more difficult by the fact that the penalties
were committed by Gill and fellow defenseman P.K. Subban, who were
both whistled for interference against John Tavares, the Islanders’
leading goal scorer.
”That was a huge point in the game,” Auld said. ”If you kill
it, you get a lot of momentum.”
The Canadiens got off to a fast start and took a 1-0 lead in the
first period when Plekanec scored his fifth of the season at 2:42 –
just 18 seconds into a power play. Michael Cammalleri’s shot was
blocked in front by defenseman Mark Eaton, and the puck caromed to
Plekanec, who finished off a stuff-in from the left post.
Montreal kept up the pressure, but neither team could generate
much offense on a tough ice surface, that produced many bouncing
pucks and several flubbed shots. Some players even fell in spots.
The Canadiens held a 9-2 shots edge 10 minutes into the game, but
New York countered with an 18-7 spurt over the next 30 minutes
through the second period.
”Credit them for doing some things really well,” Cammalleri
said. ”I think we would’ve liked to do some things better, but at
the end of the day we’ll take a big two points on the road.”
NOTES: Price had played in the Canadiens’ first nine games. …
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said that D Andrei Markov (knee) is
expected to make his season debut Saturday at home against Florida.
… The Islanders assigned forward Rob Schremp (back) to Bridgeport
(AHL) on a conditioning assignment. … Martin has three points in
seven NHL games. … Islanders D Bruno Gervais made his season
debut, but he played as a forward on a checking line in place of LW
Trevor Gillies, who was scratched for the first time this season.
… Auld hadn’t beaten the Islanders since Jan. 14, 2006.