Facing an established and playoff-bound group in the Montreal
Canadiens, the young Islanders made the most of their opportunities
in a 2-0 win Thursday night at Bell Centre.
Centers Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson, both first-year NHL players,
scored for New York, which saw its fresh faces ready for any mistake
Montreal offered up.
"I think these guys right now understand exactly the system we want
to play," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "They're executing it
defensively, but more importantly they're winning their battles.
When you do that, you have some success."
The win snapped New York's (32-37-11) three-game losing streak.
Goaltender Carey Price stopped 28 shots for the Canadiens (45-28-8),
who failed to grab a tighter hold on home ice in their looming
first-round playoff matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Price came up with some amazing saves. He kept us in the game
enough to maybe have a chance and we didn't capitalize," Montreal
defenseman Mike Weaver said. "We didn't get it deep. Their main game
plan was to turn it over in the neutral zone, and they did that all
Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves in the shutout, the
team's first in Montreal.
The visitors were ready from the start, holding a 9-2 shot advantage
over Montreal just over eight minutes into the game.
"I think, for the most part, we just outworked them tonight. They
had a back-to-back and played last night so obviously we were a
little bit fresher than they were," Islanders left winger Matt
Martin said. "We tracked hard, limited their time in the neutral
zone to make plays. ...
"We limited our mistakes and, when we did make them, we came back
hard and corrected them."
The Canadiens, who played in Chicago on Wednesday night, started to
find their legs a bit in the latter half of the opening frame but
still couldn't get their game together.
"We just weren't executing," right winger Brian Gionta said. "Too
many turnovers in the neutral zone, at the blue lines. When we're
playing good hockey, we're taking care of that stuff."
Montreal defenseman Douglas Murray was back in the lineup after
serving a three-game suspension for a hit on Lightning blue-liner
Mike Kostka, but his night ended early. Midway through the second
period, Murray was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct
for checking Islanders center Johan Sundstrom from behind into the
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Sundstrom left the game and did not return. Capuano said he went to
a Montreal hospital and would not be traveling with the team to New
With time winding down on the major to Murray, Strome broke the
scoreless deadlock when his shot from inside the blue line beat a
screened Price at 15:05. The puck hit the post and the camera at the
back of the net before bouncing out, leading to a video review to
confirm a good goal.
Nelson doubled the visitors' lead at 19:40 with another power-play
marker, streaking in on the left side before firing one past Price.
NOTES: After the game, the Canadiens announced that left winger Alex
Galchenyuk, injured in the game against Chicago, will be out for the
first round of the playoffs with a lower-body injury. ... After
staying in Montreal on Wednesday night to rest, Canadiens D Andrei
Markov and Alexei Emelin and G Carey Price returned to face the
Islanders. ... Canadiens D Jarred Tinordi, D Nathan Beaulieu and D
Francis Bouillon were scratched. ... The Islanders dressed 11
rookies. ... New York was without RW Cal Clutterbuck, RW Kyle
Okposo, RW, Michael Grabner, LW Eric Boulton, D Lubomir Visnovsky, D
Brian Strait and D Calvin De Haan, all injured along with the team
captain C John Tavares, who was hurt during the Winter Olympics. ...
With an appearance against the Canadiens, Islanders D Thomas Hickey
remained the only New York player to suit up for every game this
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