YOUTH IS SERVED
A new generation of Islanders made its presence felt against the Canadiens Tuesday, as goals from Rob Nilsson and Sean Bergenheim helped lead the locals to a 3-1 win, snapping a three-game losing streak and extending their home winning streak to five games.
Hard work from Sean Bergenheim helped the Islanders take the first lead of the game, halfway into the first period. Denis Grebeshkov fought off a clearing attempt in the slot of the Habs' zone, and worked the puck down behind the net, where Bergenheim and Mike York passed the puck quickly, setting up a bad-angle shot by York that hit the side of the net. Bergenheim pounced on the puck though, and took a pair of whacks at it, the second of which tucked the puck just inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.
Penalties to Grebeshkov and John Erskine at the 9:14 mark allowed Montreal to pull even though on the 5-on-3. Rick DiPietro came up with several big saves, but with seven seconds left on the powerplay, the Canadiens broke through. Holding the puck at the point in the Islanders' end of the ice, Alex Kovalev fed Mike Ribeiro to the right of DiPietro's goal. A quick pass across the crease bounced off the netminder and fell to the feet of Mark Streit, who banged home the rebound.
For the first 15 minutes of the second period, neither team could gain any control, as the Islanders and Canadiens battld up and down the ice. Then, a pair of rookies, Chris Campoli and Rob Nilsson, hooked up to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. Picking up a loose puck in the Islanders zone, Campoli tossed it ahead to Nilsson at center ice. A few strides, and Nilsson was inside the Habs' zone, where he ripped a slapshot that beat Cristobal Huet low to his stick-side.
Nilsson was a catalyst again in the third period, as he set up shop to the left of Huet's goal and dished out several passes that just missed connecting. But when Radek Martinek dealt a pass around the boards to Nilsson with nine minutes left in regulation, the winger dished a set-up to Jason Blake in the slot, who snapped it past the Habs' goalie for a two-goal lead.
OFF THE ICE: Three Stars of the Night: 1. Rick DiPietro, 2. Rob Nilsson, 3. Sean Bergenheim ... For the Islanders, Jeremy Colliton (healthy), Petteri Nokelainen (knee), Arron Asham (ankle), and Alexei Zhitnik (ankle) were scratched, while the Canadiens sat Francis Bouillon (ankle), Andrei Markov (healthy), Niklas Sundstrom (healthy) and Aaron Downey (healthy)... Miro Satan's next powerplay goal will give him a career-high 16... No one on the ice Tuesday has worn both jerseys... All-time, the Canadiens have a 45-63-15-0 lead over the Isles... After three games of the four-game season series, the Isles are down 1-2, having lost in Montreal and split two games at home.
(55) Jason Blake-(79) Alexei Yashin-(21) Rob Nilsson
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(16) Mike York-(81) Miroslav Satan
(15) Jeff Tambellini-(17) Shawn Bates-(7) Trent Hunter
(26) Rob Collins-(28) Wyatt Smith-(49) Eric Godard
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(4) Joel Bouchard-(6) Bruno Gervais
(3) Denis Grebeshkov-(44) John Erskine
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow
(21) Chris Higgins-(11) Saku Koivu-(73) Michael Ryder
(20) Richard Zednik-(71) Mike Ribeiro-(27) Alex Kovalev
(35) Tomas Plekanec-(38) Jan Bulis-(57) Garth Murray
(22) Steve Begin-(14) Radek Bonk-(42) Alexander Perezhogin
(8) Mike Komisarek-(32) Mark Streit
(52) Craig Rivet-(44) Sheldon Souray
(25) Mathieu Dandenault-(24) Todd Simpson
(39) Cristobal Huet
(30) David Aebischer