MONTREAL 4, ISLANDERS 2
By Jason Lockhart
Saku Koivu tallied two power play goals and an assist Thursday night at the Nassau Coliseum to help the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 victory over the Islanders. Cristobal Huet stopped 25 shots for his 11th win of the season.
Just 1:25 into the game, Arron Asham tipped Jason Blake's sharp angle shot to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. Mike Sillinger also assisted on Asham's fourth goal of the season.
Craig Rivet tied the game at one on a deflected wrist shot, 5:36 into the first period. The Canadiens went up 2-1 on a goal by Guillaume Latendresse with 29.8 seconds left in the first period.
The second period saw the Canadiens and Islanders trade goals.
Koivu put the Habs up 3-1 off a rebound while on the power with 6:51 past in the second period.
With 8:53 gone in the second period, Mike Sillinger countered with a power play goal of his own to cut the Habs lead to one. Sean Hill slapped a pass to the front of the net and Sillinger deflected it home on the backhand for his eighth goal of the season.
Another power play goal by Koivu put Montreal up 4-2, 5:10 into the third period.
A late power play gave the Islanders a chance, but Huet made a number of difficult saves to hold on for the win.
Ted Nolan: "Certain games guys don't have it. We tried to shake-up the lines, but it didn't work too well."
Rick DiPietro: "Penalties always make it harder. Their penalty kill is tough and they have a good power play too. We needed to stay out of the box against this team."
Blake Comeau: "It was disappointing to not get the two points in my first game, so hopefully we can bounce back on Saturday. It was an easy transition playing with my new linemates. They communicate well and talked to me a lot on the bench."
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Saku Koivu: A three-point night for the Finn
2. Sheldon Souray: Two assists and six blocked shots
3. Michael Ryder: Two assists and a team-high seven shots
4. Mike Sillinger: Tallied a power play goal
5. Sean Hill: An assist and six hits
Stat of the Game: Montreal blocked 31 shots.
Fans of the Game: Matt Carroll from Westbury has been teaching his girlfriend, Jessie Hughes from Hicksville to become an Islanders fan, since she recently moved to Long Island. "I've been telling her she lives on Long Island now, so she has to be an Islanders fan. It's pretty simple."
Game Operations: During the second period, the Game Board featured the "Down on the Farm" segment, which included 2006 sixth-round pick Rhett Rakhshani, 2005 first-round pick Ryan O'Marra and the 2006 first-round pick Kyle Okposo. The piece concluded with Okposo's between-the-legs goal against Minnesota State last weekend. Some tricky special effects were used to highlight the stick and puck between his legs.
Slapshots: D'Brickashaw Ferguson and the rest of the Jets offensive line were in the attendance for tonight's game. "It's very exciting," said tackle Ed Blanton. "I've never been to a hockey game before. The Islanders have been great to all of us tonight."...Attendance was 9,551...Following the game, Bruno Gervais spoke in English and French to a group of children visiting from Canada.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
77 Alexei Zhitnik - 6 Sean Hill
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais
12 Chris Simon - 25 Viktor Kozlov - 11 Andy Hilbert
45 Arron Asham - 18 Mike Sillinger - 55 Jason Blake
10 Richard Park - 16 Mike York - 81 Miroslav Satan
33 Eric Boguniecki - 17 Shawn Bates - 57 Blake Comeau
39 Cristobal Huet
30 David Aebischer
44 Sheldon Souray - 25 Mathieu Dandenault
6 Janne Niinimaa - 8 Mike Komisarek
51 Francis Bouillon - 52 Craig Rivet
32 Mark Streit
73 Michael Ryder - 11 Saku Koivu - 84 Guillaume Latendresse
27 Alexei Kovalev - 35 Tomas Plekanec - 15 Sergei Samsonov
20 Mike Johnson - 14 Radek Bonk - 42 Alexander Perezhogin
57 Garth Murray - 22 Steve Begin