The New York Islanders host the Montreal Canadiens in an important afternoon game considering the standings. The Islanders currently sit 2 points back from the Habs with two games in hand, making this an vital 4-point game for both sides. Christopher Higgins makes his return to the line-up after missing last game with an "upper body" injury while rookie Guillaume Latendresse will get his first taste of the press box since Coach Guy Carbonneau made him a healthy scratch for today game.
Jeff Tambellini scores a rebound goal with the shaft of his stick. It was Frans Nielsen who got the initial shot off from a sharp angle; Jaroslav Halak made the save but the puck squirted out past him and Tambellini’s hand-eye coordination provided him with an easy tip into the open side of the net. Richard Park also picked up an assist on Tambellini’s second of the season.
Montreal 1-1: Sheldon Souray tied the game with his signature
slapshot on a 5-on-3 opportunity. He played give and go for a moment with fellow
blueliner Andrei Markov before getting off his 100mph shot from 25 feet out. It
was Souray’s team leading 21st goal of the season. Koivu notched his 36th assist on the goal. Meanwhile, Markov’s assist is his 150th career point in the NHL.
Islanders 2-1: Jason Blake doesn’t wait long before giving the Islanders their lead back
with a quick snap-shot that popped through Halak’s 5-hole. The goal, which
Halak will likely want back, comes just two minutes after Souray’s PP goal. Blake’s 29th of the season is only his second goal
over the last 11 games. Viktor Koslov and Tom Poti get the assists on the goal.
Islanders 3-1: Frans Nielsen scored his
first goal of his career when he was allowed to walk out in front of Halak and
lift it over the sprawling Slovakian netminder. It is Nielsen’s second point of
the game, and second of his career in this, his 14th NHL game. Park also picked
up his second point of the game, another assist.
Montreal 2-3: Christopher Higgins second
effort along he boards resulted in a goal for the Long Island native, his 17th
of the season. Mark Streit was able to take an initial shot which Rick DiPietro
stopped, but the rebound found it’s way to Higgins’ stick before it was sent
into the net. Saku Koivu continued to rack up the points for the forth straight
game with his second assist of the night.
With the win, the New York Islanders tied the Montreal Canadiens for points, but jump passed them in the standings for 7th place having played 2 fewer games than the Habs. Depending on the results of tonights matches, Montreal may be without a playoff position tomorrow morning. The Canadiens’ match against the Toronto Maple Leafs will no doubt be huge in terms of points and playoff positions.
1. Frans Nielsen (1G, 1A, 3:28MIN)
2. Tom Poti (28:31 MIN, +2, 1A)
3. Saku Koivu (2A, +1)