The Islanders were unable to get any of their 40 shots past Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak as the Canadiens defeated the Islanders, 3-0 on a snowy Saturday night in Uniondale at the Nassau Coliseum.
Montreal started the scoring off 7:44 into the first period on thanks to the returning Andrei Markov. With Jack Hillen in the penalty box serving a holding penalty, the Canadiens power play, which is third best in the NHL on the road took to work.
Thomas Plekanec fired a slapshot from just inside the blue line that Islanders goaltender Martin Biron stopped. However, Biron couldn't hold on as the puck started to trickle through his legs. Markov was waiting behind the goal line and pounced on the rebound, shoving the puck across the goal line for the Montreal one-goal lead and his first of the season.
Markov returned to action tonight after being injured in Montreal's first game of the season when he suffered a lacerated ankle tendon.
The Islanders got the first good scoring chance of the game exactly a minute into the opening period. Blake Comeau sent a centering pass from behind the Canadiens net to a wide open Matt Moulson, who was standing at his usual spot right in front of the net. However Moulson's shot was eaten up by the chest protector of Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak and covered for a stoppage of play.
"Its frustrating especially when you can make a difference in the game," Moulson said after the game. "I've got to bury my chances, and I didn't."
Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon felt that two straight strong performances by opposing goaltenders have added to the frustration.
"We certainly haven't gotten any bad performances in net from the opposition," Gordon said. "That's making it a little tougher. Maybe part of its us, but a lot of it is their goalies. (Jaroslav) Halak has played outstanding against us all year long."
Montreal took a two-goal lead with 6:48 left in the second period on Markov's second goal of the game. With Mark Streit in the penalty box serving a hooking penalty, Markov corralled the puck after Nate Thompson blocked a hard slap shot. The Islanders were at a disadvantage with Thompson slow to get up, as Markov moved up and fired a slapshot that deflected off Biron's shoulder and into the Islanders net for a 2-0 Canadiens lead.
Thompson had to be helped off the ice following the goal but returned to the ice later in the period.
"Right now everything is going against us," Gordon said. "We got a great blocked shot by Nate Thompson, and next thing you know its in the back of our net. Theres a guy sacrificing himself, and the reward is a goal against."
Moulson would have the Islanders best opportunity in the second period with 45 seconds to go. Moulson broke in towards the Montreal net with the Islanders on a power play, and one-timed a John Tavares pass that Halak pushed aside with his blocker pad to keep the Islanders off the scoreboard.
"Matt Moulson has two chances in front of the net, but there was a lot of quality chances we didnt score goals on," Gordon said.
Montreal expanded its lead to 3-0 on Glen Metropolits power play goal. Scott Gomez fed a cross ice feed to an open Metropolit, who one-timed the pass into an open right side of the net for his eighth goal of the year.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Jaroslav Halak, MTL: 40 saves, shutout 2. Andrei Markov, MTL: Two goals 3. Marc-Andre Bergeron, MTL: Two assists
Slapshots: Islanders outshot the Canadiens, 40-28...Montreal was 3-for-5 on the power play, while the Islanders were unsuccessful on six man advantages...Mark Streit led all Islanders with 26:16 of ice time...Every Islander registered at least one shot on goal...Sean Bergenheim (ribs), Jeff Tambellini (healthy), and Freddy Meyer (healthy) were the Islanders scratches...This was the third meeting of the year between these two teams, with the Islanders holding an 0-1-1 record against the Canadiens...Islanders now hold an all-time record of 50-73-16 against Montreal.
43 Martin Biron
30 Dwayne Roloson
46 Andrei Kostitsyn - 14 Thomas Plekanec - 13 Michael Cammalleri
74 Sergei Kostitsyn - 91 Scott Gomez - 36 Matt DAgostini
67 Max Pacioretty - 15 Glen Metropolit - 32 Travis Moen
40 Maxim Lapierre - 17 Georges Laraque
79 Andrei Markov - 6 Jaroslav Spacek
75 Hal Gill - 26 Josh Gorges
20 Ryan OByrne - 22 Paul Mara
47 Marc-Andre Bergeron
41 Jaroslav Halak
31 Carey Price
1 - 0 MTL
2 - 0 MTL
3 - 0 MTL
Hi stick - double minor
Holding the stick