Pacioretty, Price lift Canadiens over Isles 1-0

The Montreal Canadiens had a plan upon visiting snowy Long

Island.

They knew the lowly New York Islanders were returning home from

a disappointing five-game trip and they knew that goals would be at

a premium.

The Canadiens made the most of the slimmest of margins and

escaped with a 1-0 victory on Saturday night. Max Pacioretty scored

1:51 into the extra period, and Carey Price stopped all 21 shots

that came his way in his 21st NHL shutout.

Montreal snapped a two-game skid in which the club netted only

one goal and gave up a total of eight in losses to Los Angeles and

Philadelphia.

”We were absolutely more intense,” Canadiens coach Michel

Therrien said. ”We wanted to be physical. We wanted to play a

hard-nosed game. This is something we didn’t do the last two games,

and guys responded well.”

Pacioretty took a short feed in front from David Desharnais

after a New York turnover and shoved a shot past Evgeni Nabokov for

his 12th goal.

”I was the recipient of a great pass,” Pacioretty said. ”It

felt great to convert it. We’ve been fortunate lately, and this was

another example.”

The 38-year-old Nabokov stopped 24 shots and was the hard-luck

loser as he came back after missing 11 games because of a groin

injury sustained against Detroit on Nov. 16, the last time New York

won at home.

”The guys did a hell of a job in the D zone, around the net,”

Nabokov said.

It was Price’s second shutout this season for the Canadiens,

10-2-1 in their last 13.

”That was a really good hard-fought win,” Price said. ”We

played a really solid game from start to finish. We knew it would

be low scoring game, and we’re playing really well, patiently

waiting for our chance.

”The effort was there all night.”

Montreal spoiled the NHL debut of prized Islanders prospect Ryan

Strome, the No. 5 pick in the 2011 NHL draft.

Strome had two shots in just under 15 minutes of ice time.

”I felt good out there,” the 20-year-old forward said. ”Glad

to get my feet under me. I felt like we were working hard all

game.”

New York (9-19-6) returned from a 1-4 trip and lost for the 12th

time in 13 games (1-9-3). The Islanders are 0-16-4 when they score

fewer than three goals.

However, they appeared to get a jolt in the third period when

Lars Eller leveled New York captain John Tavares as he carried the

puck behind his net and back out the right side. Tavares didn’t

seem to see Eller charge at him, but he wasn’t injured.

”It was mostly my shoulder. I didn’t think it was too bad a

hit,” Tavares said.

Eller was given a minor penalty for illegal contact to the head,

but the Islanders’ anemic power play did nothing with the

advantage. Therrien questioned why a penalty was even called.

”Of course,” he said when asked if the hit was clean. ”I was

surprised that we were down.”

The teams played a fairly even first period, with Montreal

holding an 11-9 edge in shots, but the Islanders came closer to

breaking the scoreless deadlock. Tavares had the best chance when

his shot slipped between Price’s pads, slid through the crease and

struck the right post with 6:45 left.

The second period provided little more action than the opening

frame, and the teams headed into the final period of regulation

still deadlocked.

Both teams received their first two power plays of the game, yet

did little with them. Montreal entered with the NHL’s best power

play on the road, connecting 13 times in 48 advantages (27.1

percent) in 14 games, and the top penalty-killing unit away from

home, turning aside 39 of 42 short-handed situations (92.9

percent).

Danny Briere nearly got the Canadiens on the board 6:05 into the

second, but he was snuffed on his jam attempts at the left post by

Nabokov. The Islanders held a 7-6 shots advantage in the period,

closing the overall gap to 17-6 through 40 minutes.

There was playful banter within the somewhat sparse crowd of

14,408. Many fans in red Canadiens gear made themselves heard

throughout the game with chants of ”Let’s Go Habs” that were

quickly met with boos from the Islanders faithful.

NOTES: The Islanders held a pregame moment of silence in memory

of those killed last year in a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook

Elementary School in Connecticut. … Canadiens enforcer George

Parros didn’t return after a punch from Eric Boulton knocked him to

his knees during a first-period fight. Parros didn’t dress in 13 of

the previous 16 games. Therrien said after the game that Parros was

OK. … Tavares and Thomas Vanek had three-game point streaks

snapped.