Habs explode in 3rd, winning 5-2 vs Isles
Michel Therrien hit the shuffle button out of necessity as much as inspiration. As usual, coach's every move this season has been rewarded.
He called out PK Subban but still gave him 22 minutes of icetime and was rewarded with a pair of goals.
In the opening seconds of the 3rd period, David Desharnais fed the puck in to captain Brian Gionta for the go-ahead goal and the Canadiens led for the first time since near the midway mark of the 1st period.
Later in the 3rd, line combos were restored and the Habs would respond with 2 goals in just 33 seconds. Desharnais was back with Pacioretty and rookie Brendan Gallagher, who was given credit for both the insurance goal and the extra cushion.
Gallagher is second only to Florida's Jonathon Huberdeau for rookie goal-scoring.
On a night when PK Subban looked like he'd have plenty of company in the doghouse, he let his stick do the talking and shoot his way out.
In the first game since being called out by Michel Therrien for his part in letting the Sabres win in overtime, Subban scored a 2nd period powerplay goal to wipe out a New York Islanders lead. He was also credited with another in the 3rd period.
Subban's 8th and 9th of the season widens his lead among all NHL defensemen.
The Canadiens know all too well to beat the Islanders you have to contain Moulson and Tavares. All season long the Habs have been unable to do either.
New York's duo had a hand in both Islander goals, grabbing a 2-1 lead in the 2nd period. Lubomir Visnovsky scored during a scramble that had Carey Price lunging from right to left in his crease while the puck was up for grabs in front of the net.
In the 1st period, two Habs with different approaches to the remainder of the season off-ice had different results on the ice. Michael Ryder is happy to let the rest of the season go without talking new contract. Francis Bouillon already has his security blanket for next season.
In the 1st period on Long Island Ryder would let his stick improve his future bargaining position, while Bouillon got lost in his own zone as the Islanders tied the game 1-1.
Ryder fired a shot from just inside the leftwing circle while Mark Streit, his former Montreal teammate, was in the penalty box.
The Habs had a chance to widen their league but Ryder botched a 3-on-1 break, failing to saucer a pass to his linemates, only to see the Isles roar back John Tavares beat Carey Price on the ensuing rush.
In the course of climbing over most of the Eastern Conference on the way to the top, the Canadiens have failed to beat the New York Islanders.
That's an inexplicable as the Habs' impressive progress this season.
The Islanders have won only 5 home games this season, but threatened to sweep the season series against Montreal.(which salvaged 3 points in the 3 games).
The Canadiens did not take New York too lightly: they've handed Coach Therrien's players their only regulation loss in the last 19 games.
PK Subban, who won support from Habs fans on the www.cjad.com Canadiens poll after being called out for taking a foolish penalty in overtime, was under the gun to step up his performance with both the PP and Penalty Killing units slumping.
Coach Therrien has admitted he's counting on assistant coach JJ Daigneault to innovate with the special teams. The PP was 2/4, PK 4/4.
Alexei Emelin was a -2 through 2 periods, throwing only 1 hit.