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.


  1. 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.

  2. PGHABS says:

    we’re Canadiens fans, we blame the goaltenders after every loss no matter how badly we are dominated.

    But i agree, let’s give our No. 1 a chance to run with the ball

  3. JF says:

    I think the coaching staff was not satisfied with Bulis’ work ethic.

  4. idle says:

    Yeah, why are they giving Huet another chance after he lost his first game in regulation in his last 10 starts?? He should definitely not get another chance after that one bad game…

  5. idle says:

    Maybe the fans think ‘even if we make the playoffs we wont go far so what’s the point’ but to the team it means playoff revenue. I don’t think you can underestimate that part of the pressure to make the playoffs.

  6. ebk says:

    it may suprise you but it actually does. He ok on the 4th line. As long as Brisebois is eating popcorn in the press box, I’m happy.

    Kostopoulos/Smolinski/Dandenault could be a decent 4th line if Smolinski can get his butt in gear.

  7. 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.

  8. Ian G Cobb says:

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

  9. 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.

  10. 24 Cups says:

    Hey ebk – Tommy K. is back in the lineup tonight. That should make your day!!!

    The Original 24 Cups

  11. 24 Cups says:

    Rocket 9 – Sounds to me like Gainey did a pretty good job of managing the situation. I believe in hockey it’s called a hat-trick!

    The Original 24 Cups

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. likehoy says:

    agreed…we really lacked 3rd line and 4th line depth at the start of the season.

    We’ve given up a ridiculous amount of forward depth in the last 3 years quite possibly because of the salary cap or we just didn’t see a future with them…here’s a list of forwards we used to (maybe) cheer for:

    Pierre Dagenais
    Richard Zednik
    Jan Bulis
    Mike Ribeiro
    Radek Bonk
    Mike Johnson
    Alexander Perezhogin
    Garth Murary

    and i still find a telling fact is that our highest scoring third liner in the last 3 years was jan bulis…20g 20a +2…Never understood why we gave up on him, I really liked him, but now his NHL career’s over.

  15. likehoy says:

    wow tell me about it…last olympics when koivu scored against canada i was like YES!!! oh wait…….

  16. Sulemaan says:

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


    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.

  17. 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.

  18. J.T. says:

    However, there was no need for concern as the ankle had already sustained lasting damage when Brisebois accidentally laced his skates too tight for practice. The injury came shortly after reading his daily horoscope which informed him, “You’re too old for this. Retire now.”

  19. coutNY says:

    Well Breezers out for tonight…

  20. Chuck says:

    Interesting… Ovechkin doesn’t have a no-trade clause. It probably doesn’t mean a thing, but I DO love a good conspiracy theory! Hmmm…

    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  21. von says:

    Ugh, Huet again?!?!?! Why don’t they give Halak a chance??? He looked ready to play after starting the 3rd in New York. Huet hasn’t played consistently enough to deserve starting every game, give Jaroslav a chance!!!

  22. CHsam says:

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

  23. Chuck says:

    Well then, things will be even tonight as they play the flu-riddled Hurricanes at the ACC.

    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  24. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Leafs are starting to put some blame on their demise to the FLU bug now.
    when it rains it pours…
    1. Kovalev, about being passed over for the All Star team said, “The Canadiens are my all star team.”
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans.
    3. Your not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”.

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