18 November 2011
Uniondale, NY -- It came down to the wire, but the Islanders held on to defeat the Canadiens last night, 4-3, at the Nassau Coliseum. The crucial win snapped the Islanders four game losing streak and is a big moral booster as the they get set to face the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins on Saturday for the second time in less than two weeks.
The first period saw the Canadiens and Islanders trade chances. John Tavares had several chances including one he shot stick side that was deflected out of play by Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj’s stick. Brian Rolston also had good opportunity on a short-handed attempt that hit the cross bar.
The most significant event to happen in the first was a groin injury sustained by Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov made a pad save and then immediately fell forward in pain. He left the ice and did not return to the game. The Islanders brought in Rick Dipietro to play the rest of the game.
The second period is where the action picked up. 41 seconds in PA Parenteau capitalized on a puck-handling gaffe made by Budaj. He miss handled the puck allowing Parenteau to burry an easy shot to give the Islanders the 1-0 lead. Several minutes later Josh Bailey made great feed to Jay Pandolfo, who pushed the puck past Budaj to make it a two nothing game.
“Matt Martin made a good play in the defensive zone,” Pandolfo, who scored his 100th career NHL goal during the game, started off saying when asked about the play. “Then we had a three on two and Matty slide it to me and he drove to the net, that makes it all happen. Then I passed it over to Josh and Josh had great patients there and just found me on the back door.”
Mark Streit would burry the Islanders third goal of the period six minutes later. “It obviously does feel great, but the two points are way more important tonight,” Streit said when asked about scoring a goal against his former team.
The Candiens would turn the tide in the second half of the period. Max Pacioretty scored Montreal’s first goal of the night at 14:52. Eric Cole brought the Canadiens within one after Rick Dipietro was knocked to the ice and Cole was able to lift the puck right into the net.
Matt Moulson answered right back for the Islanders. Moulson through the puck on net and it found its’ way through the legs of Budaj to put the Islanders back up by two goals.
The second period was, as Streit put it, “good for the fans, a nightmares for the coaches.”
The Canadiens would get one more goal on the board in the third period. Brian Gionta would score to bring the game back within one and the Canadiens would put a flurry of pressure on Dipietro as the game came to a close. In the final minute and a half, the Candiens threw shot after shot at the net, but Rick Dipietro would stand tall and make the saves. He would also receive help from his teammates who blocked shot after shot as well.
“Just try to get big,” Dipietro said about what he did during the final, chaotic minute of the game. “[Andrew MacDonald] made a big block there, [Travis Hammonic] in the last seven seconds made a big block. Big time team effort.”
Dipietro made 24 saves during the game for a .889 save percentage.
“I thought Rickey played well,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. “It’s tough coming in obviously. He came off the bench there and made some big saves for us.”
Streit added, “He played unbelievable, he’s a mentally strong kid and he certainly showed it tonight.”
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