Game 36: Habs snowed under by Isles

A portion of the crowd of 3,136 at the Nassau Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum, a hardy group given the monstrous snowstorm that swept Long Island on Sunday night.
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

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At a Glance: Could be the Canadiens played in snowshoes instead of skates? The Habs resumed their holiday-spanning, seven-game road trip Sunday on blizzard-pounded Long Island with a 4-1 loss to the lowly New York Islanders. Playing before a hardy crowd of 3,136, who’ll still be shovelling out their cars at dawn, Montreal surrendered first- and second-period goals to the home team and couldn’t solve goalie Dwayne Roloson until the game was well decide. The Canadiens enjoyed a 39-25 edge in shots on goal.

The Scoring: Blake Comeau hit the scoresheet first on a partial breakaway midway through the first period, defenceman Alexandre Picard caught pinching deep in the New York zone and blue-line partner Yannick Weber outlegged in the race. Then Michael Graber pounced on a Picard giveaway late in the second to race in alone and beat Habs goalie Carey Price to make it 2-0. (It could have been 3-0, but what appeared to be an Islanders goal earlier in the second on sloppy Price clearing was disallowed; replays seemed to show the puck across the goal line before it was scooped away by defenceman Josh Gorges.) The Isles increased their lead to three when P.A. Parenteau scored during a five-minute power play early in the third, Max Pacioretty having been given a major (and game misconduct) for boarding. Then it was 4-0 when James Wiesniewski beat Price 2:20 later on a 5-on-3 advantage, Scott Gomez off for tripping during Pacioretty’s major. Habs’ Tomas Plekanec ended Roloson’s shutout bid with 12:09 to play.

Key Moment: The Canadiens dominated the second period and had numerous chances to tie the game, outshooting their hosts 16-7, but Grabner’s late goal would serve to break the Habs.

What It Means: The Canadiens lost their sixth game in their past eight, having been outscored 29-18 during that span. They’re 1-3 to start this road trip, their longest of the season.

What’s Next: The Habs had planned to fly out of New York postgame, but they changed that idea early in the day. The team was to overnight near the Uniondale arena before practising Monday morning there, then chartering to Washington later in the day – weather permitting – for Tuesday’s game against the Capitals. Games Thursday and Friday in Florida will end the trip and the 2010 calendar year; Montreal is back home Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Thrashers.

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