Thursday’s game between the Habs and Islanders was bound to be a letdown after
Wednesday’s barnburner and both teams played a much tighter game with the momentum swinging back and forth all night. There were two changes in the lineup for
this game, both due to injury, with Mathieu Darche and Hal Gill both missing the game with lower and upper body injuries respectively. They were replaced in the lineup by Hamilton call-up Ryan White and Alexandre Picard.
A constant stream of players to the penalty box marred the first period with seven minor penalties being called. The Canadiens opened the scoring during a 4-on-4 situation with David Desharnais doing some fancy stick work drawing in two Islander players before finding Max Pacioretty
wide open who one-timed the shot. The lead was short lived when John Tavares
lost his marker, Pacioretty, and buried his own rebound to tie the game before the end of the period.
The Canadiens played a solid second period by getting contributions from all
four lines. Pouliot gave the Habs the lead with a goal after some nice work along the boards by White. Late in the period, Michael Grabner split the Habs defense and scored to tie the game at two. With only 1:52 remaining, Tomas Plekanec managed to use Andrei Kostitsyn as a decoy on a 2-on-1 and scored without looking at the net to regain the lead.
The Canadiens didn’t start the third period well and before they got their
legs under them the Islanders had tied it at 3 with a 2nd goal of the night by Grabner. The score stayed this way until the end of regulation and through the overtime period. The shootout required 8 players before the first goal, which came from a snapshot off the stick of Kyle Okposo to win the game for the Islanders.
The Canadiens finished their second consecutive set of back-to-back games with only 1 point. This now leaves them in 6th place in the conference, 3 points behind the Bruins for the division lead having played two extra games.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: David Desharnais (1 assist, +2 rating, 2 shots, 15:31 TOI)
His line was the Canadiens best line all night and he manufactured the first goal with some neat stick handling. He is starting to show he belongs in this league and is being rewarded with some quality ice time on the powerplay.
2nd Star: Max Pacioretty (1 goal, 7 shots, 18:18 TOI)
He is turning into a true power forward who can control the puck down low as well as put the puck in the net. He is the kind of player that the Canadiens could use about 10 more of and he might be proof that Jacques Martin does know how to nurture young talent.
3rd Star: Tomas Plekanec (1 goal, even rating, 2 shots, 22:13 TOI)
He had another typical game by creating chances for himself and his linemates
while also being their best penalty killer. Along with Carey Price, he has been the team’s MVP this season and may have been the best money Pierre Gauthier spent all summer.