The only thing “wrong” with the Canadiens (23-14-8) first period was the single shot they allowed. The seventh place Islanders ( 22-18-5) are the worst offensive team in the league and by the conclusion of the game that became quite clear.
The Islanders were unable to generate any consistent offensive chances. The lone goal they did score was courtesy of a careless rebound surrendered by Cristobal Huet. Richard Park was the benefactor as he and the puck ended up in the back of the net. Bill Guerin picked up the sole assist on Park’s seventh of the season which at the time cut the Canadiens 2-0 lead in half.
Tomas Plekanec continued his excellent play of late scoring both of the Canadiens first two goals. He opened the scoring in the 14th minute of the 1st period after Islanders centre Andy Hilbert fumbled the puck to him at the blue line. His second of the game came while the Canadiens were killing their only penalty of the game. Alex Kovalev sent Plekanec and Andrei Markov in on a 2 on 1, Plekanec barley kept the play onside and decided to shoot himself beating Rick DiPietro high glove side.
Alex Kovalev had the opportunity to set up Tomas Plekanec for his hat trick goal with the Islanders net empty but rather than make the risky play Kovalev took the puck to the net and gave the Canadiens the insurance needed to coast through the last 30 seconds of the game.
Game notes: Patrice Brisebois missed the game awaiting results on x-rays on his injured left foot. Tom Kostopoulos took his place in the line-up as Mark Streit dropped back to play defense with Roman Hamrlik. Alex Kovalev goal which was his team leading 20th marked the 12th time he has scored 20 or more goals in an NHL season.
1. Tomas Plekanec – 2 goals and the Canadiens most dynamic centre once again.
2. Richard Park – scored the only goal for the Islanders and was the only Islander to finish the game on the right side of the +/- column.
3. Mike Komisarek – another solid game with 4 hits and 2 blocked shots.
Honourable mention to Andrei Markov who was fantastic tonight blocking 6 shots and clearing the zone with ease all night long.
1. Tomas Plekanec has now scored in three straight games against the Islanders.
2. The Habs have won 8 of the last 10 meetings with the Islanders on Tuesday nights.
3. The Habs are now 3-0 on the road on Tuesdays this year
4. The Islanders have scored a goal or less in 12 games this season, in those game they have picked up just three points