Montreal Too Much for Isles to Handle

In their latest installment, the New York Islanders came back but ultimately were unable to win a game in Montreal, losing 5-3 to the Canadiens.

After starting off the game with an awesome looking goal by Matt Moulson off of a great feed by P.A. Parenteau, the Islanders went missing for a stretch.

Some bad turnovers led to some bad goals given up by Al Montoya, who looked nothing like himself in the first period. After two soft goals were scored on him, the Islanders were facing an uphill battle all night long.

Montoya came out in the second looking like his old self again, making 15 saves in the process but unfortunately the Islanders were still down by one after the period was over. It took giving up a quick goal in the third to Erik Cole – 31 seconds in to be exact - before the Islanders woke up and realized the situation they were in.

Unlike games a month ago, the Islanders found themselves pressing with about 15 minutes to play as they slowly chipped away at the Montreal lead. Josh Bailey scored his third of the year on a nifty move off of a nice set up by Brian Rolston to pull within one. Six minutes later, it was John Tavares pushing one past Carey Price and the goal line for what looked like could suddenly become an unlikely Islanders comeback.

Just over two minutes later, with the Habs in a line change, the Islanders luck changed. Montoya, who had been giving up a slew of soft and long range goals lately, gave up another one on a seemingly harmless slapper by Petteri Nokelainen. An empty net goal by Hal Gill would finish the job.

While Montoya clearly had a weak showing between the pipes, playing speedy teams like the Canadiens always seems to pose a problem for the Islanders. Their lack of speed on defense gets exposed, and it was the last time these two met earlier this season on Long Island even though the Islanders won that match-up. Clearly the Islanders can’t afford too many mental lapses before deciding to try and get themselves back into the game.

It’s been very rare this season where one can make a strong argument that the negative outcome of a game was on the Islanders’ goaltending. Nights like this one don’t come up often but Montoya, playing in his 9th straight game, was perhaps showing some chinks in the armor. Evgeni Nabokov, who was taken off of IR on Monday night, will likely get a start soon, perhaps even Thursday back at home against the Dallas Stars.

Jack Capuano said after the game that he was happy with the way that the team played, and there are no excuses for the end result. It seems like he was a bit unsure of what exactly to point to as a problem, which is slightly understandable when you see what Montoya was able to do in his string of starts up until now.

In the most basic sense, the Islanders were their own worst enemy. They hit a lull for a good chunk of the game, and it didn’t help matters that the goaltending was a bit shaky. Take their brief comeback for what it’s worth, and hope that the next time they can parlay it into grabbing an extra point or two the next time it happens.

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