Game 56: Islanders play trick on Canadiens

Islanders’ Mikko Koskinen makes a diving save on Canadiens’ James Wisniewski Thursday night at the Bell Centre.   Shaun Best, Reuters

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AUDIO: | Brian Gionta | Ryan White | Alex Auld | James Wisniewski | Jacques Martin

• At a Glance: After an all-out battle on Wednesday night in Boston, the Canadiens had a much tamer night on Thursday when the New York Islanders came to town in a 4-3 shootout loss. Kyle Okposo scored the winning goal for the Islanders after they erased three one-goal deficits during the game. Max Pacioretty, who scored two goals on Wednesday night’s 8-6 loss to the Boston Bruins, opened the scoring 14:10 into the first period. He took a pass from David Desharnais and fired a one-timer past rookie goaltender Mikko Koskinen. But John Tavares got that one back 2:25 later when he flipped a shot over Alex Auld’s shoulder. In the second period, Benoit Pouliot made it 2-1 Montreal with 5:49 played. But the Islanders never let up and Michael Grabner tied it 2-2 with a little under three minutes to play. Tomas Plekanec restored Montreal’s lead at 18:08 on a 2-on-1 break. He made Koskinen believe he was going to pass to Andrei Kostitdyn but then fired a shot between the goaltender’s legs. Grabner scored his second of the game 4:08 into the third period to tie the game 3-3, taking advantage of some confusion in the Canadiens zone. Koskinen made 37 saves for his first NHL victory in his second career game.

• What It Means:
Montreal has now lost three straight and falls to 30-20-6 and move up to 66 points with a point for the shootout loss, four ahead of the New York Rangers for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

• What’s Next:
The Canadiens are home to the Maple Leafs on Saturday and the Buffalo Sabres next Tuesday before hitting the road for three games in Western Canada that includes the Heritage Classic in Calgary on Feb. 20.

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