4/10/14 Recap: Isles Top Canadiens 2-0
The Islanders went into Montreal Thursday night and threw a serious wrench into the Canadiens chances of earning home-ice advantage in the playoffs as they blanked the hosts 2-0.
The Islanders, dressing 11 rookies, controlled play from the drop of the puck, outshooting Montreal 30-19 and out-chancing them by an even wider margin. Montreal was playing the second of a back-to-back set could not keep up with the young Islander legs who took advantage of the tired Canadiens to earn the win.
Both goals came in the second period with the man advantage. Douglas Murray, fresh off a 3-game suspension for an illegal check, hit a prone Johan Sundstrom from behind into the boards resulting in a 5-minute major and a game misconduct. The Islanders took advantage when Ryan Strome let go a laser from the point that beat Carey Price over his shoulder. The original call on the ice was "no goal" but a review ultimately showed the puck crossed the red line.
Not to be outdone by his fellow rookie, Brock Nelson connected on another power play again with 10 seconds left to go in the period. Nelson took a feed from Thomas Hickey and streaked down the boards before putting a deke on a Montreal defender and letting go a beautiful snap shot to beat Price and give the Islanders a two goal lead heading into the third.
Whereas a two-goal lead has been a curse for them most of the season, the Islanders played a strong third period and never let Montreal back in the game. The Islanders held Montreal to only 5 third period shots, the first coming nearly seven minutes into the final frame which the home crowd sarcastically cheered.
Goaltender Evgeni Nabakov earned his fourth shutout of the season by stopping all 19 shots he faced. He was not called on to be great, but no doubt Nabakov did not mind the easy night in net after being under siege most of the season.
The Islanders are back in action Friday night against New Jersey as they look to improve on their impressive road record this season.
Odds and Ends...
The Islanders finished the season series against Montreal with a 1-1-1 record.
Rookie Brett Gallant, playing in his 2nd NHL game, picked up his 2nd fighting major after dropping the gloves with George Parros in the first period.
Josh Bailey picked up an assist on Strome's goal and now has set a career high with 36 points...15 of those points coming in the 20 games after the Olympic break with the Islanders' fate already determined.
Ex-Islander Thomas Vanek was held to one shot on goal in his first game against his ex-mates. His penalty in the second helped set up Nelson's goal.
Strome and Nelson's goals were their first in seven and twelve games, respectively, for the rookie duo.
Sundstrom was taken to a local hospital for observation...no update yet on his injury.
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