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The man-advantage produced the game`s first goal and the Habs killed 6 penalties, including an extended 5-on-3, en route to a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Alex Auld, who started his first regular season game since April 6th 2010, played a key role in the win, stopping 30 of 31 shots.
In the first period, Tomas Plekanec opened the hostilities, scoring the Canadiens’ third powerplay tally of the season. He quickly corralled a rebound and backhanded a shot over Dwayne Roloson’s shoulder. For most of the period, the Canadiens played excellent hockey, breaking out of the zone comfortably, supporting their defense and pressuring the Islanders’ backend. However, the middle frame proved to be a stark contrast, as Montreal was dominated 13-4 on the shot clock. The forward group was clearly not as committed defensively and battles along the boards were more easily lost, allowing the Isles to menace constantly throughout the period. Eventually, barely four minutes before the intermission, New York drew even thanks to a Matt Martin tally. It was his first NHL goal.
Fortunately, as the final period progressed, the Canadiens regained their composure and played a much sounder game. Benoit Pouliot, trailing on a 3-on-1 break, accepted a pass from Jeff Halpern and wired a high shot into the net, restoring the Canadiens lead. Afterwards, the Islanders looked considerably less threatening and, with less than two minutes to play, saw Travis Moen tip-in a Brian Gionta shot. The home team pulled their netminder immediately after the goal, but never got organized in the offensive zone. In the end, Dwayne Roloson made 23 saves in a losing effort.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1. Alex Auld Big, bald, and surprisingly composed for a netminder who has not played a meaningful contest in over 6 months. While he certainly allows more rebounds than Price, he did well to fight through traffic, find incoming pucks and fend off second chances.
Statline: 30 saves on 31 shots, .960 save percentage
2. Tomas Plekanec Easily the Canadiens most dynamic forward, not only did he get the first goal of the contest but he also played a pivotal role in fending off the Islanders’ two-man advantage. In addition, he was excellent on the draw, winning 60% of his face-offs.
Statline: 1 G, 0 A, -1, 2 SOG, 19:09 TOI
3. Maxim Lapierre His contributions may not show up on the scoresheet, but his physical play in the third period certainly served to energize his team. Plus, you have got to love a player who is credited for three hits in one shift.
Statline: 0 G, 0 A, Even, 2 SOG, 6 Hits
Louis Moustakas can be reached for comments, questions, cross-checks and, of course, fan-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- GDT: October 29th, 2010 - Habs @ Islanders