By Eric Hornick
Montreal 3, Islanders 1
Alex Auld made 30 saves and Benoit Pouliot scored the winning goal at 7:19 of the third period as the Montreal Canadiens completed a sweep of the home-and-home series with a 3-1 victory over the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum. The first place Canadiens have won four straight games and are 7-2-1 overall.
Plekanec Extends Streak
Tomas Plekanec scored the only goal of the first period, just 2:42 into play. With Jon Sims sitting out a roughing penalty, Montreal needed just eight seconds to convert the power play for only their third power play goal of the season.
Big Night for Martin
Matt Martin made his season debut on Thursday in Montreal. Late in the second period, Martin converted a pass from Frans Nielsen for his first National Hockey League goal. Martin becomes the 311th player to ever score a goal for the Islanders. Moulson, who would fight Hal Gill in the final seconds of the middle sessions, also added eight hits – giving him 14 in just two games.
Sacre Pou –liot
The Isles had the better of play for most of the third period, but Benoit Pouliot converted a beautiful pass from Jeff Halpern to give the Canadiens the lead. Travis Moen deflected Brian Gionta's shot with less than two minutes to play for the final margin. 3-1 Montreal. Final.
James Wisniewski was held without a point for the first time as an Islander, ending an official 5-game point scoring streak. "The Wis" led all players with 28:35 of ice-time and finished with six shots on goal and five takeaways.
John Tavares and Matt Moulson both saw point streaks end as well. Tavares was held pointless in a game that he finished for the first time this season, ending a 5-game point streak. Moulson's streak ended at 4.
Alex Auld Stands Tall
Alex Auld has played for eight different NHL teams since the lockout. This was his first appearance for the Canadiens as Carey Price had played in Montreal's first nine games. It is Auld's second career win against the Isles (2-3-1) and his first since 2006. Dwayne Roloson made 22 saves for the Isles but was the losing goaltender in both halves of the home-and-home, dropping his record to 2-3-0 on the season.
First Goal's a Key
The Isles are 4-1-0 when they score first and 0-3-2 when their opponent does so.
Fit to Be Tied
The Isles have been tied heading to the third period in six of their first ten games (2-3-1).
Fifteen to One
After scoring 15 goals in their first three home games, the Isles were held to just one.
Drop to Third
The Flyers beat the Penguins 3-2, while the Rangers lost as home to Carolina 4-3. The Flyers' win ties Pittsburgh for the Division lead with 11 points, one ahead of the Islanders and two ahead of the Rangers. The Devils also won on Friday, so they now have seven points. The Isles suffer their first home regulation loss. They are 2-1-1 at home and 4-4-2 overall.
Power Out for One Night
The Isles were stopped on six power plays, including a 1:43 5-on-3 advantage, ending a streak of six straight games in which the power play had scored at least once. The Isles have 13 power play goals in their first ten games; they had only 12 in their first 18 games last season. The Isles now have had 52 power play opportunities; only Pittsburgh has had more. The penalty killers allowed one goal in two times short; the Isles have killed 26 of 29 (89.7%) over the last seven games.
In the Circle
The Isles lost 34 of 57 draws (40%). Zenon Konopka dropped 11 of 17 (35%) after winning 12 of 17 in Montreal.
Eight Down, Seven to Go
This was the eighth game in a 15 game stretch that finds the Islanders playing 12 on the road and only three at home. They are now 3-4-1 in the first eight games. The Isles now play six of the next seven on the road; their only remaining home game in this stretch is on November 6.
Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Andrew MacDonald remain out for extended periods; Rob Schremp recorded an assist for the Sound Tigers in their overtime win in Manchester on Friday. Schremp had 4 shots and was +1. Michael Grabner missed his second game with a groin injury. Milan Jurcina suffered a hamstring injury during the game and will not play on Saturday in Philadelphia, so Bruno Gervais, who made his season debut as a forward tonight, will likely return to the backline tomorrow.
Season Series Stats
The Canadiens lead the season series 2 games to none. The teams will play at the Coliseum again on Boxing Day (December 26). Montreal is 6-0-1 in their last seven trips to Long Island, with the only Islander points (1-6-0) in that stretch coming in a shootout win last April.
The Isles last win on this date was against Montreal, but it came in 1997. Since then, the Isles are 0-4-1 on this date.
Nino Niederreiter was returned to Portland of the WHL on Thursday. He played for the Winterhawks on Friday night and was involved in a brawl early in the second period. Nino also had an assist as the Winterhawks improved to 11-2-0-1 with a 4-2 win over Kelowna.
Saturday, October 30- Islanders @ Philadelphia Flyers 7:00pm
[MSG+2 (Islanders pre-game at 6:30pm), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Islanders are in Philadelphia on Saturday night as they complete their second set of back-to-backs on the season. The Isles defeated Colorado two weeks ago, so they are 1-0-0 on the back-ends.
It's their first visit of the season to the recently renamed Wells Fargo Center. The Isles are just as happy to see the name Wachovia Center disappear as the Isles have not had a lot of success against the Flyers, particularly in Philadelphia, in recent years.
The Isles are 0-9-1 in ten visits to the City of Brotherly Love since a 4-2 win on the penultimate day of the 2006-07 season set up an Easter Epic finish in New Jersey the following day. Their only point came in an overtime loss two years ago to the day; Jeff Carter's extra session goal gave Martin Biron, then with the Flyers, the victory.
The Isles defeated Philadelphia 6-4 on April 1 at the Coliseum, ending a 15-game losing streak to the Flyers (0-12-3).
With their win over Pittsburgh on Friday, the Flyers will enter play with a share of first place in the Atlantic Division. This will be the Isles' seventh road game of the season; their opponent has had at least a share of first place five times.
Coach Gordon announced at his post-game press conference that Rick DiPietro will be in goal for the game; Radek Martinek will become the 35th player to appear in 400 games as an Islander.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.
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