NHL Game Summary - Montreal at NY Islanders
(Saturday, November 1st)
Final Score: Montreal 5, NY Islanders 4
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - Tomas Plekanec scored two of Montreal's four third-period goals to help complete a spirited 5-4 comeback win over the hapless New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Plekanec added two assists while Alexei Kovalev also had two goals and two assists for the Canadiens, who have won three straight and eight of their last nine.
Andrei Markov added two assists while Carey Price rebounded from a rough start to make 27 saves.
"I think the only thing that changed in the third period was we started skating, they couldn't keep up with us and we started scoring goals," Plekanec said.
Frans Nielsen had a goal and assist while both Doug Weight and Trent Hunter notched two assists each for the Islanders, who have lost six straight for the first time since March 6-18 of last season.
New York hasn't won since October 16 and suffered a loss off the ice as well Saturday, as the team announced that goaltender Rick DiPietro is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to address a meniscus injury. The team had been non-specific about the ailment until Saturday, terming it a lower body injury. DiPietro has appeared in only three games this season.
Joey MacDonald has seen the majority of time between the pipes in DiPietro's absence but Yann Danis got the start on Saturday and was beaten five times on 32 shots to take the loss.
With the Habs facing a three-goal deficit entering the final period, Danis made a stop on Kovalev but left the rebound in front where Plekanec swiped it into the back of the net for a two-goal game 7:48 into the third.
Montreal cut it to one just about midway through the period when Andrei Kostitsyn broke into the zone along the right boards and went wide around a defender before shoveling the disc across the goal mouth to a waiting Plekanec.
The Habs completed the comeback with 5:54 left to play by hassling a trio of New York defenders in the right corner. Saku Koivu wound up with the puck and backhanded a pass in front where Chris Higgins slid a shot under the pads of Danis.
And just 1:13 later, Markov's shot from the left point was re-directed by Kovalev in the slot and then off an Islander skate for the go-ahead goal.
The Islanders used one last gasp of energy to try and reclaim the game but Price made two point-blank saves in the final two minutes to make the comeback stand up.
"Forty minutes we played really well, then after that we just stopped playing," Streit said. "I don't know what happened. We didn't skate anymore and we just waited. We gave them the space and the time and when you face a team like that they're going to take advantage of it. We kind of collapsed. It hurts a lot."
Both teams started off the game with a good burst of energy leading to three goals in the opening 12:27 of play.
Montreal silenced the crowd with a marker just over two minutes in when Kovalev took a pass from Plekanec in the low slot and snapped off a quick score.
Mark Streit's slapper with the man-advantage from the right point evened the score 1:44 later and New York captured its first lead in two weeks and a day at the 12:27 mark.
Jon Sim skated up the left boards and let fly a seemingly harmless wrister on Price, who wasn't quite quick enough in closing the five-hole and New York held the 2-1 lead to open the second period.
It quickly became 3-1 just 1:40 into the second on Bill Guerin's power-play marker.
The Islanders rushed into the zone with numbers and Sean Bergenheim found Nielsen down low to the right of Price. Nielsen faked Price down to his knees and fired the disc over his left shoulder for the 4-1 lead with 3:17 left in the period.
The Islanders have struggled lately against the Canadiens, dropping six straight and eight of their last 10 against the club. Montreal has also won four of its last five at Nassau Coliseum...The Habs are 4-0-1 on the road thus far...New York is just 1-5-0 at home this season.
11/02 01:53:26 ET