Michael Grabner twice scored to bring the Islanders from behind forcing a 3-3 tie and then Kyle Okposo scored on the final shootout attempt as New York scored a 4-3 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre Thursday night. Tomas Plekanec scored late in the second period to give the Canadiens a 3-2 lead, but Grabner’s second goal at rookie Mikko Koskinen stopped all eleven third period and overtime shots to record his first NHL win. Max Pacioretty and Benoit Pouliot also scored for the Canadiens. John Tavares scored the other goal for the Islanders. The Canadiens outshot New York 40-33.

Summing It Up – There are any number of excuses that can be rung up for the Canadiens losing at home to the worst team in the Eastern Conference but, in the end that’s all they are….excuses. In any case, try these on for size. The Canadiens were involved in their third back-to-back series in the last ten days; they were coming off that bruising battle of Boston the night before that cost them the services of both Hal Gill and Mathieu Darche in this game. The Islanders are a loosy-goosy bunch, with no pressure to win. Scott Gomez is playing his worst hockey of the season and taking down his linemates with him. In the end, just excuses.

……Consider this. The Islanders had a goaltender in the nets who was playing his second NHL game. He is fifth on the team’s goaltending depth chart. Mikko Kostinen stopped 37 of 40 Canadiens shots and all three in the shootout to get the win. The injury list for the Islanders is ten.

……In post-game interviews, the Canadiens and their coach felt the team wasn’t all that bad. Maybe not, but Alex Auld seemed to awfully busy dealing with odd-man rushes, two of which led directly to goals.

…..In the key defensive statistics, the Islanders were plus-10 in hits (24-14); plus-8 in blocked shots (22-14) and the Canadiens recorded 4 more giveaways than the Islanders (16-12). The Canadiens did outshoot the Islanders 40-33 and were 32 and 29 in faceoffs.

…..The best line for the Canadiens was again Plekanec/Gionta/Pacioretty. After the disastrous night in Boston, Jacques Martin started the game with Gomez/Eller and Kostitsyn and pretty much stuck with them. They were on the ice for the tieing goal. In the overtime, for the first time since he arrived, Gomez started to hear boos.

….The best part of the night was the rookies. There were five of them in the game (Eller, White, Desharnais, Subban and Weber) plus Pacioretty, who also started the season in Hamilton.

….. On this night, it was Pacioretty who was the motor that drove the Plekanec line. He scored one of the line’s two goals, took seven of the line’s sixteen shots. 

…..David Desharnais centred Pouliot and Ryan White who was brought up from Hamilton earlier in the day. Who would have predicted White would have more shots on goal than hits (5-3). He was the key component in the Benoit Pouliot goal. Desharnais set up Pacioretty with a perfect cross-ice pass to open the scoring in a 4-on-4 situation. Desharnais is not going to see the minors again if he keeps putting up these kind of stats – 1 assist; 2 shots on goal; plus-2 and 10 and 4 in faceoffs. All of them got more than eleven minutes of individual ice time in this game.

….Nobody is in the habit of asking me, but if I were responsible for three stars they would have been Michael Grabner for his two Islanders goals , Pacioretty and Benoit Pouliot, with Ryan White a close fourth.

….Next up – Toronto. The Canadiens had better be ready or this will be a very bad week.

The Goalscorers – NY Islanders – Tavares (19th) (unassisted); Grabner (18th) (Nielsen-Hillen); Grabner (19th) (Nielsen-Hillen); Okposo (shootout). Canadiens – Pacioretty (9th) (Desharnais-Spacek); Pouliot (11th) (White); Plekanec (19th) (unassisted).

Shots on Goal – NY Islanders – 12-10-10-1 = 33 Canadiens- 9-2-10 = 40

Fan’s Three Stars – First – Kyle Okposo (winning goal in shootout-plus 1) Second – Max Pacioretty (goal – 7 shots ) Third – Tomas Plekanec (goal – 4 shots)

The Fenwick/Corsi Numbers

Game Number Team Player Number Goals Saved shots Missed Shots Fenwick+/- Blocked Shots Corsi+/-
20819 MTL 6 – D – SPACEK, JAROSLAV 2 1 7 5 3 3 3 6 5 4
20819 MTL 11 – C – GOMEZ, SCOTT 0 1 4 5 4 3 -1 6 2 3
20819 MTL 14 – C – PLEKANEC, TOMAS 1 1 17 5 4 4 12 8 3 17
20819 MTL 15 – C – HALPERN, JEFF 0 1 1 10 3 4 -11 1 5 -15
20819 MTL 20 – D – WISNIEWSKI, JAMES 1 2 23 11 7 7 11 12 7 16
20819 MTL 21 – R – GIONTA, BRIAN 0 1 16 5 4 5 9 9 3 15
20819 MTL 32 – L – MOEN, TRAVIS 0 0 1 10 2 4 -11 1 6 -16
20819 MTL 35 – G – AULD, ALEX 3 3 35 24 14 13 12 19 14 17
20819 MTL 44 – D – HAMRLIK, ROMAN 1 2 17 11 7 7 5 12 6 11
20819 MTL 45 – D – PICARD, ALEXANDRE 1 0 9 7 5 2 6 1 3 4
20819 MTL 46 – L – KOSTITSYN, ANDREI 1 2 3 5 4 2 -1 6 2 3
20819 MTL 53 – C – WHITE, RYAN 1 0 13 2 1 1 12 4 4 12
20819 MTL 57 – L – POULIOT, BENOIT 1 0 13 4 1 2 9 5 4 10
20819 MTL 58 – C – DESHARNAIS, DAVID 2 0 13 4 3 2 12 4 4 12
20819 MTL 67 – L – PACIORETTY, MAX 1 1 15 3 7 4 15 5 3 17
20819 MTL 68 – D – WEBER, YANNICK 1 0 9 8 5 3 4 0 2 2
20819 MTL 76 – D – SUBBAN, P.K. 0 1 5 6 1 4 -5 7 5 -3
20819 MTL 81 – C – ELLER, LARS 1 2 3 5 4 2 -1 3 0 2
20819 MTL 94 – C – PYATT, TOM 0 0 2 10 2 4 -10 1 5 -14