Game 45: Habs beat Isles with better N.Y. effort

Updated Wednesday 6 a.m. with new links

Canadiens’ Tomas Plekanec heads up ice on a 2-on-1 break with defenceman Andrei Markov. Plekanec scored on the rush.
Mike Stobe NHLI via Getty Images

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One state, two games in four nights – and two very different efforts. Different results, too.

The Canadiens rebounded from Saturday’s dismal 4-1 loss in Manhattan against the New York Rangers with a considerably stronger performance tonight, defeating the New York Islanders 3-1 in Uniondale.

Centreman Tomas Plekanec scored two of Montreal’s goals, his 15th and 16th of the season, one coming at even strength, the second shorthanded. Alex Kovalev iced it with his 20th, an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet stopped 17 of the 18 shots sent his way, losing his shutout midway through the third period. Montreal managed 21 on Rick DiPietro and one more into his vacated net.

Plekanec used a nifty fake to open the scoring for the Canadiens, winding up then sweeping wide of New York defenceman Bruno Gervais before drilling a shot from the faceoff circle past DiPietro at 13:49 of a less-than-scintillating first period.

Montreal outshot the Islanders 9-1 through the first 20 minutes, Huet tested by Islander Josef Vasicek’s 25-footer at 4:19, then not again until nearly 21/2 minutes into the second.

Plekanec made it 2-0 at 5:35 of the second period, while shorthanded with Sergei Kostitsyn serving a hooking minor. A good, point-blank save by Huet on Miroslav Satan ultimately led to a 2-on-1 break for Plekanec and defenceman Andrei Markov. Fed by Alex Kovalev, Plekanec used Markov as a decoy before whipping home his second of the night from about 35 feet. It was the ninth goal the Isles have yielded this season with the man advantage.

Huet had considerably more work in the second period, making a number of big saves as the Islanders held a 9-5 edge in shots (14-10 for Montreal through two).

The goalie lost his bid for his first shutout of the season when his own clearing attempt was intercepted at the blue line by Bill Guerin. The Islander’s shot toward the Montreal goal was tipped in from the edge of Huet’s crease by Richard Park at 10:56.

Montreal came into the match with a 22-14-8 record and having played mostly excellent hockey over the past month, scoring 51 goals in 14 games which yielded an 8-3-3 record. They were 5-1-2 in their last eight games.

The Canadiens’ four-game road trip winds up Thursday night in Atlanta vs. the Thrashers. Montreal returns to home ice on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

224 Comments

  1. Shiloh says:

    But Plekanek peeled back at the blue line – almost as if saying to Kovalev, “Make sure you score”. Plekanec is a smart player – and he seems to improve every season. If he keeps this up he will soon be considered an elite player.

  2. Bill H says:

    Thanks nightmare. Well, I am glad to see that Higgins has some decent linemates that can pass and score. If they have any chemistry, I hope he keeps them together.

  3. habsgod says:

    can anyone please tell me when ryan o’byrne is due back from the thumb injury?

  4. idle says:

    I don’t mind Georgs play and I think he is improving and playing well, but he fails to clear the puck as often as any of our D. If he works on that aspect of his game he will be that much better.

  5. idle says:

    I know his passes are not great, but again I think we always go overboard on things like this because we only see what our goalie is doing. Look around the league and that is similar for a lot of goalies. There are a select few that seem to always make the right decision when coming out to play the puck. Most goalies give their fans fits when they come out to play it.

  6. idle says:

    The D also let a player stand in front for 5 seconds untouched. I don’t need to tell you what would have happened on this forums if that would have been another particular D man we have on this team.

  7. nightmare_49 says:

    Doug – After the first shift he kept Pleks line – Higgy,Saku and Sergie – Lats,Smol and Ryder – Dandy,Lapierre and Tommy K. Carbo is stubborn and always goes back to putting Higgy with Saku even when we’re going good.

  8. Ice Man says:

    I agree. Can’t Carbo see that Huet can not handle the puck behind the net? He could make 59 oustanding saves and one miss play could cost him the game. God Huet, stay in your net please and let the D-men clear the puck.

    Other than the above Huet played great.

    Oh I almost forgot. Why do Carbo not play Ryder on the PP.

    Ryder was working hard and drew the first PP chance. He never even got a second on the PP.

    I really dislike Carbo.

  9. Ian G Cobb says:

    You always have to plug habs inside out when being interviewed on the radio !

  10. calvee123 says:

    I was listening to the last half minuite of the game and the post game on CJAD and heard “Ian”. Just wondering was that you IAN COBB?

    If so, I heard you talk about us habbie fans here from all over. It is wonderfull with the age of Internet being able to keep up with my team and other hab fans!

    GO Habs GO! Good win, you guys played hard from what I seen. I had to leave to get to work during the 2nd intermission and only caught the last 30 seconds of the game. We won that is the most important thing.

  11. Vecs says:

    Melanson should just stop working on that part of Huets game. He’s making it worse. Carbo should pull cristo every time he tries to make a play with the puck.

  12. Bill H says:

    I didn’t catch much of the game, so I can’t really comment except on the score. Great result and the Kovy/Pleks/K1 line keeps on rollin’. Will Kovy and Pleks both crack the 30 goal barrier? Its looking like they might.

    What lines did Carbo play? The little I heard, it sounded like he was juggling. Did I hear Higgins playing with Smokes? Will that guy ever catch a break and get some help on his line? Look at the linemates he’s had, and he’s still managed 15 goals thus far.

    Atlanta over Detroit 4 to 0. Not sure if that is final, but it looks like we will go up against a hot team in Atlanta on Thursday. Let’s hope they suffer from PBWLS – Post Big Win Letdown Syndrome. I am sure there is better way to say it, but I think you all understand what I mean.

    Samsonov scored tonight for Carolina. Will wonders never cease?

  13. Sulemaan says:

    Nice game tonight. Huet played well – especially in the 2nd period. My only request to Huet is as follows:

    PLEASE STAY IN YOUR NET.

    Other than that a pretty showing tonight. For anyone who thinks that Plekanec/Kovalev/A.Kostitsyn is not the first line, I’d like to visit you in Shangrilla.

  14. joe-hab-nuno says:

    It could have been an easy win, but a win is a win. Latender could have easily had 2 goals cuz of 2 perfect passes and screwed it uo. Don’t know why he has the power play time instead of K2. Huet made some great saves but his puck control and passes were some of the worst i’ve seen ever. The goal he allowed ws because of a week pass attempt from his part, other then that he palyed well.

  15. CHsam says:

    If he coulda passed it to Pleks that would have been a fun hat-trick!

  16. Habster101 says:

    DID YOU SEE KOVALEV??

    He didn’t just shoot the puck into the open net from afar, he wanted to toy around a little more and deeked out the last player…..WOW!! he is GREAT!!

    any other regular player(99% of the league)would have just shot it…

    Great game boys……and Ottawa Lost………

    I knew it as soon as they got some injuries because they have no depth…..

  17. Smart Dog says:

    VICTOIRREEE!!!

    The right guys were on the ice near then end this time (then he put Slowinski out for some reason). Solid game! Tense but solid! They must’ve had 5 near goals… but 2 points. Can’t knock it.

    ________________________________________________________________
    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  18. Habster101 says:

    Latron is pathetic tonight as well….

  19. Habster101 says:

    stupid goal on Huet’s part….why didn’t he just try to poke the puck away after the rebound instead of trying to corral it….??

  20. Habster101 says:

    Thank you cournoyer12

    good to see someone else out there has eyes for the game….with a name like yours I wouldn’t doubt that you do.

  21. Habster101 says:

    HUET !! HUET!!! HUET!!!

    play Halak? Price? please…

    Higgins…………damn it

  22. Habster101 says:

    WOW……what a goal by Plekanec……….I was about to give him crap for not passing but he put the puck right in……nice….

    Kovalev is laying some heavy hits ….

    Higgins…..is playing the same….nothing changed so far…

    Half way thru the 2nd

  23. Habster101 says:

    Higgons did not do one thing right so far in the first period. his passing is weak, worthless shot, the only thing he did good was make a few deeks in the corner,,,then lose the puck…

    for those who want(ed) Ryder to be traded? you need to get your head checked…. I can see Higgons go WAY before Ryder….

    Other than that the team is playing very well and if they keep it up into the 2nd and 3rd they should takke the win, beautiful shot by Plekanec, but still gets caught and trips in Kovalev’s skates…

    ….excellent Idea in playing Huet……I would have had it no other way…..

    and also….Thank God for Brisebois being out…….

    Ill be back after the 2nd to give my analysis…see you then.

  24. Smart Dog says:

    Any line-up shake-ups? It’s a shame Higgins has to play without someone to sometimes set him up. He misses Koivu.

    Also – isn’t Higgins the plus-minus leader now? He HAS been playing well, just not scoring. That shows up in other places (and in the W column).

    At least we can be glad Breezers out… interesting stats flying around here suggest we stand a much better chance of coming away with 2 points.

    ________________________________________________________________
    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne


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