Habs see nothing funny in own goal
A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to the New York Islanders’ 4-3 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens Monday night at the Bell Centre.
MONTREAL — A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to the New York Islanders’ 4-3 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens Monday night at the Bell Centre.
Ryan O’Byrne found the back of the net for the first time this season but it wasn’t a cause for celebration.
The Canadiens’ defenceman put the puck into his own net at 15:15 of the third period, allowing the New York Islanders to pull even at 3-3.
That led to a shootout which the Islanders won as veterans Richard Park and Bill Guerin scored the only goals.
The strange turn of events came after Sean Bergenheim was called for tripping Alex Kovalev. Goaltender Carey Price left the net on the delayed penalty. Bergenheim was pressuring O’Byrne when the defenceman launched the puck from his own blue-line and found the net. Ironically, Bergenheim was given credit for the goal and the penalty at the same time.
Prior to O’Byrne’s gaffe, the lesser lights showed the way Monday night as the Canadiens took a 3-2 lead.
Defenceman Josh Gorges led the parade as he scored his first goal in a Montreal uniform. He was playing in his 89th game as a Canadien.
Fourth-liners Steve Begin and Maxim Lapierre each scored a goal. It was the second goal of the season for each of them.
The win snapped the Canadiens’ six-game win streak over the Islanders and the one point left the Canadiens a point behind the fourth-place Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference standings.
The game was a departure from the first meeting between these teams this season. On Nov. 1, the Islanders opened up a 4-1 lead on home ice but the Canadiens came back with four goals in the third period to grab a 5-4 win.
The Islanders scored first in this game but public address announced Michel Lacroix was still announcing the New York goal when Begin pulled Montreal even at 7:11, just 17 seconds after the Islanders’ goal. He redirected defenceman Roman Hamrlik’s shot from just inside the blue-line.
Gorges provided the Canadiens with their first lead of the night when he scored on a power play at 9:58 of the first period.
Gorges was on the ice at the end of the power play as a defensive measure but he connected on a seeing-eye shot through a maze of players in front of Islanders’ goaltender Joey MacDonald.
Lapierre gave the Canadiens a 3-1 lead when he scored on a backhander from close range at 4:29 of the second period after MacDonald made a save on Christopher Higgins.
Coach Guy Carbonneau went back to the same lines he employed at the beginning of the season with Saku Koivu between Higgins and Alex Tanguay and Tomas Plekanec between Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Kovalev.
None of the players on the top two lines but they did show lots of energy and effort. Kovalev and Plekanec both missed empty nets during a power play and they each earned an assist on Gorges’ goal. The Islanders enjoyed success on the power play.
Richard Park opened the scoring at 6:54 of the first period while Trent Hunter kept the Islanders close when he scored a 8:05 of the second period to close the gap to 3-2 for the Canadiens. Price was the victim of some bad luck on the Hunter goal. Josh Bailey’s shot hit and caromed back through Price’s legs. He was trying to locate the puck when Hunter banged home the rebound.
The Islanders went 2-for-5 on the power play while the Canadiens went 1-for-7.
The Canadiens now go on the road for two games. They are in Detroit to play the Stanley Cup-champion Red Wings Wednesday night and then play in Washington Friday night. They are back home Saturday to play the Buffalo Sabres.
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