UNIONDALE, NY -- Sean Bergenheim notched three points as he continued his current hot streak for the Islanders, as the Islanders emerged victorious with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
With the win, the Islanders improved to 8-3-1 in their last 11 games and have been playing some of their best hockey of the season.
"Right now I think even though we're out, everybody's loose," Bergenheim said. "We're playing with more of a positive atmosphere with winning games. When we're down and we still get the win, I think it shows that this team has grown."
Bergenheim scored a goal and two assists on the game, extending his point streak to five games (4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points).
Islanders head coach Scott Gordon sees Bergenheims success evolve in his work ethic.
"With Bergie its always consistency," Gordon said. "He can skate, he can check the puck, he can finish hits, and he's got a good shot, but if he's not doing those things, he's just an average player.
"Average isn't good enough for Bergie. He has to excel in the areas that are his strength and when he does, that when he sees success," Gordon added.
With the Islanders trailing 3-2 in the final minutes of the game, Frans Nielsen would emerge as the game-tieing hero as Bergenheim would get his third point of the night, assisting on the goal as the Isles tied it up at 3-3 with 2:01 left. Bergenheim cut into the Montreal zone, fed a backhand pass between the legs of a Montreal defender to Nielsen. Nielsen skated in, wound back and let go a hard slapshot that found its way past Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak to pull the Islanders even once again late in regulation.
Following a scoreless overtime period that saw the Islanders fire six shots on goal, helped by a 1:49 power play, both teams went to a shootout still knotted at three goals apiece.
Matt Moulson would get the Islanders on the shootout scoreboard first, firing a quick wrist shot past Halak. After Islanders goaltender Martin Biron denied Maxim Lapierre, Nielsen used his patented shootout move to put the Islanders up by two goals, forcing Montreal to convert on their final two attempts. However, Michael Cammalleri hit the post on his final shootout attempt to give the Islanders the two points, denying Montreal from clinching a playoff berth.
"We didn't beat them all year so we wanted to come out and get a little bit of revenge," John Tavares said after the game. "It was a good win by us. I thought we dominated especially in the third period."
Blake Comeau continued his current hot streak, putting the Islanders on the board first with 7:31 left in the opening period. It all started with a key neutral zone faceoff win by John Tavares. After the puck was dumped into the Montreal zone, Bergenheim attacked on the forecheck, gaining possession on a key takeaway.
He then made a pretty backhand pass to Comeau in the slot, who quickly one-timed it over the blocker of Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak to put the Islanders up 1-0.
The line of Comeau, Tavares and Sean Bergenheim has been on a roll since being paired together. With the goal, Comeau is riding a four game point streak (5 goals, 2 assists).
Montreal would get the lead in the second period off of two quick goals.
The Montreal Canadiens tied the game up just 7:08 into the middle period as Tomas Plekanec scored his 25th goal of the year. The Canadiens led a two-on-two rush, with Andrei Kostitsyn leading the break for Montreal. He fed a lead pass over to Plekanec, who was streaking down the right side of the ice. After receiving the dish, he fired a hard wrist shot past Islanders goaltender Martin Biron to even up the score at 1-1.
Brian Gionta then made it 2-1 just 2:36 later while on the power play to give the Canadiens the lead. With Josh Bailey in the penalty box serving a hooking minor, the Islanders looked to clear the puck out of the zone, however Josh Gorges got his stick on a mid-air puck at the Montreal blue line to keep the play alive.
He then got a quick shot on net with Gionta right in front of the net. After failing to get through a maze of bodies, the puck laid right in front of the crease, which Gionta pushed by an unsuspecting Biron to give the Canadiens the lead.
Bergneheim got his second point of the night 2:01 into the third period, as he scored his 10th goal of the season to even up things for the Islanders. Following a long Dylan Reese shot, Bergenheim grabbed the long rebound and deked around former Islander Roman Hamrlik. With a little room, Bergenheim blasted a hard slapshot in the top left hand corner over Halaks shoulder to even things up at two goals apiece.
"It was a hell of a move on his goal," Tavares said. "He's that kind of player that can make those kind of plays for us. It's nice for him because I know it's been a little bit of a tough year for him. It's good to see him contribute. He's a great guy in the lockerroom for us."
Tavares nearly gave the Islanders the lead just two and a half minutes later as the they kept up the pressure. Kyle Okposo fed Tavares down low by the Canadiens net and snuck behind the Montreal defense. He circled around the crease, drawing Halak down. With the Montreal goaltender down, Tavares got a wrist shot off, but the sprawled glove hand of Halak snagged it from crossing the goal line to keep the game even.
That save would prove to be crucial, as Montreal would grab the lead under a minute later.
Maxim Lapierre would give the Canadiens a 3-2 lead with 13:40 remaining in the third period. Lapierre would get a lead pass in the neutral zone from Mathieu Darche and was off on a breakaway. The Montreal center cut in on Biron, went the backhand which drew Biron down, and lifted the puck over the sprawled Islanders netminder to give Montreal the one-goal lead.
However Nielsen would tie it up late, and later ice it in the shootout to give the Islanders the victory.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Sean Bergenheim, NYI: Goal and two assists. 2. Maxim Lapierre, MTL: Scored Canadiens third goal 3. Martin Biron, NYI: 28 saves for the win, including two shootout stops.
Slapshots: Islanders outshot Montreal, 42-31...John Tavares led all Islanders with 6 shots on goal...Mark Streit led all Islanders with 31:31 of ice time...Montreal was 1-2 on the power play (4 shots), while the Islanders were unsuccessful on three man advantages (7 shots)...This was the final meeting of the year between both teams, with Montreal taking the season series, 3-1.
43 Martin Biron
30 Dwayne Roloson
MONTREAL CANADIENS Forwards
46 Andrei Kostitsyn - 14 Tomas Plekanec - 13 Michael Cammalleri
57 Benoit Pouliot - 91 Scott Gomez - 21 Brian Gionta
74 Sergei Kostitsyn - 42 Dominic Moore - 32 Travis Moen
52 Mathieu Darche - 40 Maxim Lapierre - 94 Tom Pyatt
44 Roman Hamrlik - 47 Marc-Andre Bergeron
20 Ryan OByrne - 79 Andre Markov
75 Hal Gill - 26 Josh Gorges