The secret to the Canadiens recent success is a simple one. Limit the opposition to around 20 shots per game and put up a puck-blocking wall in front of Carey Price. The plan worked to perfection again Wednesday night as the New York Islanders were limited to 21 shots on goal and the defense blocked another 14 shots as the Canadiens skated away with a 5-3 victory. It was the Habs fourth victory in their last five games. After nine games they have a 6-2-1 record.

Once again the Canadiens were led by the Tomas Plekanec line, with Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn each with a goal and an assist. Jeff Halpern also recorded a goal and an assist, with Mathieu Darche and Travis Moen also scoring for Montreal. Two of the three Islanders goals were scored on their power play. The Canadiens power play was shutout once again, going 0-for-3.

The secret to the Canadiens recent success is a simple one. Limit the opposition to around 20 shots per game and put up a puck-blocking wall in front of Carey Price. The plan worked to perfection again Wednesday night as the New York Islanders were limited to 21 shots on goal and the defense blocked another 14 shots as the Canadiens skated away with a 5-3 victory. It was the Habs fourth victory in their last five games. After nine games they have a 6-2-1 record.

Once again the Canadiens were led by the Tomas Plekanec line, with Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn each with a goal and an assist. Jeff Halpern also recorded a goal and an assist, with Mathieu Darche and Travis Moen also scoring for Montreal. Two of the three Islanders goals were scored on their power play. The Canadiens power play was shutout once again, going 0-for-3.

How It Went

The First Period

Shooting Blanks – At the 3:32 mark of the period, Jack Hillen was whistled for interference. The Canadiens took five shots and hit a goalpost over the next two minutes without scoring. P.K. Subban had one of the shots plus the goalpost. On another opportunity, Brian Gionta was stoned after a perfect setup from Scott Gomez.

Game Changer? Midway through the period in a scramble in front of the net, the puck slid away to Price’s left. With a wide open net yawning, Tomas Plekanec cleared it to centre ice.

P.K.!! PK!! – Less than two minutes later P.K. Subban controlled the puck at the Islanders blue line. He wheeled away from an Islander defender twice before feathering a pass to Halpern who’s shot was deflected by Mathieu Darche in front. 1-0 Montreal. Shots on goal were 11-5 for Montreal.

The Penalty Killers – With P.K. Subban in the penalty box on a roughing call, Hal Gill feathered a clearing pass to centre ice that set up a 2-on-1. Plekanec gave Travis Moen a gift pass for the shorthanded goal and the Canadiens led 2-0.

Still Shorthanded – With Subban still in the penalty box, the redhot Islander defenceman James Wisniewski drilled the puck past Price over his blocking glove. The goal came with forty-four seconds left in the period. End of the first – 2-1 Canadiens. Shots on goal 14-7 for Montreal.

The Second Period

Playing With the Lead – Carey Price had to be very alert on Jon Sim close in and seconds later on puck that took a hard bounce off the back boards right to Radek Martinek. A minute later Andrei Kostitsyn ducked around Hillen and sent a pass back to Tomas Plekanec. Off a rolling puck he fired a knuckleball that found the top corner of the net restoring the Canadiens 2 goal lead.

The Penalty Killers Part II – With Moen in the penalty box for boarding, again Plekanec led a 2-on-1 breakaway with Maxim Lapierre. This time Lapierre failed to handle the pass.

The Fighters – Moen was given the 2 minute boarding penalty for checking Wisniewski into the boards from behind. Wisniewski was down for thirty seconds. Four seconds after Moen returned to the ice he was forced to fight the Islanders Zenon Konopka. Call it a lengthy draw. After two periods – 3-1 for the Canadiens. Shots on goal in the second 7-7 (22-15 overall for the Canadiens)

The Third Period

The PK Fails – Jaroslav Spacek was in the penalty box in a carry-over penalty from the second period. Thirteen seconds into the period Wisniewski’s shot hit the skate of John Taveres in front and again it was a one goal game.

Bearing Down – The Canadiens got it back in the 7th minute. Benoit Pouliot sent Jeff Halpern down the left side. Halpern sent the puck in front where Mathieu Darche was planted. The puck wound up in the goal, after a review Halpern got credit. Carey Price, who had cleared the puck up ice to Pouliot was given the second assist. Canadiens back in a two goal lead.

Penalty Shot – Ten seconds after Halpern made it 4-2, Benoit Pouliot outraced Martinek for a loose puck at centre ice. Martinek had no choice but to trip Pouliot. He got the penalty shot but his attempt was stopped easily by Dwayne Roloson.

Wisniewski Again – At 12:56 the Islander defenceman again let a shot go from the line. Doug Weight got a piece of the screen shot and it was a 4-3 hockey game.

Goaltender Out – Roloson left the net for the extra attacker with 1:20 remaining. The Islanders didn’t get a smell. With them pinned back in their own zone, Hillen mishandled the puck right to Kostitsyn who scored into the empty net. Final score 5-3. Total shots on goal – Montreal -35 Islanders-21.

Summing It Up – Anyone who thought this was going to be an easy four points in the back-to-back games with the Islanders but revise their opinion.  The Canadiens had to be very good to beat this young team on the night and they’ll now have to do it at Long Island on Friday.  That being said, this was another hard working, team oriented victory.  Many people are comparing what the Canadiens are doing now to the type of hockey they played in last year’s playoffs.  The big difference is, they’re not forcing their goaltender to come up with 40 shots a night in order to win.  In four of the last five games the shots on goal have been 19, 20, 19 and 21.  Only Phoenix broke the pattern with 29 on Monday night.  And the blocked shots have been remarkable.    Over the last five games they’ve allowed an average of 21.8 shots per game and have blocked an average of 15, for which Carey Price says “Thank you very much.” The power play shows life, but still can’t find the net. Not a great night for the penalty killers. Plekanec was a monster in this game. Price made the stops a good goaltender is supposed to make. Along with Subban, Gill and Hamrlik had good games on defence. I thought Gomez had a pretty good game. Unfortunately again, nothing on the scoreboard.

The Goalscorers – Montreal Darche (1st) (Halpern-Subban); Moen (1st) SHG (Plekanec-Gill); Plekanec (4th) (Kostitsyn-Hamrlik); Halpern (3rd) (Pouliot-Price); Kostitsyn (6th) ENG (unassisted). NY Islanders – Wisniewski (2nd) PPG (Weight-Moulson); Tavares (6th) PPG (Wisniewski); Weight (2nd) (Wisniewski-Hillen)

The Three Stars – First – Tomas Plekanec (1 goal 1 assist plus-3 Second – P.K. Subban (1 assist – plus1 5 shots on goal) Carey Price (stopped 18 of 21 shots).

Not Mentioned in the Fan’s Vote – An Islander player. Especially Wisniewski and/or Tavares.