It took 65 minutes and six rounds of a shootout, but the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, winning the first of five straight road games.
Josh Bailey snapped a rolling puck past Peter Budaj in the sixth round, ending an elongated shootout that saw Frans Nielsen and Matt Moulson light the lamp in rounds one and four.
“I was starting to run out of time there, I just wanted to get down in time to get the shot off,” Bailey said of his game-decider. “Fortunately it went in.”
Al Montoya started his first game since Feb. 16, but conceded a sharp angle goal to Aaron Palushaj at 2:53 of the first. Montoya regained his focus and stopped 28 saves in regulation and OT and four in the shootout.
“We gave up the one early,” Jack Capuano said. “Al bounced back and played extremely well for us. I was proud of the effort the guys put in tonight.”
Down 1-0 after the first period, the Islanders played the second period with a purpose, outshooting the Canadiens 18-9. Two minutes into the middle frame, Mark Streit evened up the score for the Islanders on the power play, driving up the middle of the ice between three Canadiens and beating Peter Budaj five-hole.
“We all know Mark and what kind of player he is,” Nielsen said of his captain. “He has that skill and he can do [finish]. It was a really nice goal.”
The Islanders also ended the strong period on a high note, as Nielsen opted to shoot on a 2-on-1, roofing the puck high glove side on Budaj. The goal was the Danes 14th of the season, a new career high.
The Canadiens responded early in the third as Louis Leblanc backhanded a pass from PK Subban in the slot over the glove of Montoya.
Streit took a delay of game penalty at 18:43 in the third period, but the Islanders held their ground and killed off the minor. The Islanders penalty killers sacrificed the body to block shots and passing lanes during the crucial kill.
“We sacrificed our bodies when we needed to,” Capuano said. “I didn’t think that we got down when they tied the score. We kept coming. It’s a good win when you come in this building.”
The Islanders next stop on their five-game road trip is in Toronto on Tuesday night. The puck drops at the Air Canada Centre at 7 p.m.