The Price Is Right; Canadiens Goalie Returns To Beat Islanders

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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 20: P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens hits Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders following a collision with Carey Price #31 at the Barclays Center on November 20, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The canadiens defeated the Islanders 5-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 20:  (l-r) Tomas Fleischmann #15, Greg Pateryn #6 and Tom Gilbert #77 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrate Fleischmann's first period goal against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on November 20, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 20: (l-r) Tomas Fleischmann #15, Greg Pateryn #6 and Tom Gilbert #77 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrate Fleischmann’s first period goal against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on November 20, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

This game seemed to typify the Islanders’ season thus far. They look very good in spots, they really look like they can compete with anyone. Then as quickly as they turned it on, they make a silly turnover or miss a defensive assignment and they just can’t overcome it. The same thing happened tonight as the Islanders got down 1-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2, 4-3, and finally 5-3, which is how it ended. They just could not get over that hump.

First Period

  • Every time you lose, you look for a reason. Tonight, the reasons were many; a shaky Jaroslav Halak, a porous defense, and lack of success on special teams.
  • “We’re trying,” a clearly frustrated Frans Nielsen told Islanders Insight about the Power Play. “It’s not working right now.”
  • Right from the start Halak did not look right. He let up an early goal which did not look all that good, but the Isles chose to keep him in net; he would let in two more before the period ended.
  • “It’s tough to play catch-up in this league, they’re obviously a really good team.” Travis Hamonic told Insight. “We probably had a handful of minutes there in the first period that probably wasn’t what we wanted or to our standard. We battled back and played a really good game in the second half for sure, it should make for a good game on Sunday night.”
  • Why was Halak still in net? Even Butch and Howie could tell he was struggling tonight.  He looked completely lost on the first goal. After goal two, he should have been swapped out. What can ya do? Everyone has bad days. Unfortunately, his came against the Canadiens.
  • “After the first we had to get a little bit of a spark from our team too,”said Coach Jack Capuano. “It was not all Jaro (Halak). He’s going to have games like that when maybe you are not feeling it.
  • Montreal challenged Brock Nelson‘s game tying goal on the basis of goaltender interference; it failed miserably and the Habs were charged a timeout. I am really not sure what they saw there. The moaning and whining has to stop. “He touched me in the crease.” “His pinky touched my pads.” Guys used to play without helmets. and now we have these guys flopping all over the place.  Seriously, fellas relax.
  • Speaking of Nelson, the man is on fire with five goals in his last four games. Nielsen likes what he sees out of the Isles’ young center. “It’s good to see. He’s got a little chemistry with Johnny (Tavares). He’s getting to the net and shooting pucks. It’s good to see.”
  • Carey Price didn’t look any worse for wear after missing three weeks with an injury. He stopped 9 of 10 Islanders’ first period shots.

Second Period

  • With the Islanders down 3-1 entering the second, Coach Jack Capuano decided to make a goalie swap. Thomas Greiss would be in net to start the period.
  • When asked if it’s tough to come in to a game in relief, Greiss told Insight, “You always have to be ready. That’s the job of the backup goalie. It’s a lot tougher in the last few minutes than it was coming in after the intermission.” He also understands Halak looking like the bad guy tonight, saying “I think it was a whole team thing, the goalie always looks the worst.” Very true Thomas. Very true.
  • Greiss again looked solid letting up just one goal on 16 shots. Unfortunately this is where the NHL is different than baseball. If a relief pitcher comes in and the team is losing 5-0, but they wind up losing 10-7, he does not get the loss. In the NHL, since Greiss let up the technical game winning fourth goal, he gets the loss. It’s an odd rule to say the least, considering he let up just one goal. But, alas, he takes the loss.
  • There was a feel good moment in the second, as soon-to-be-ex Islander Hamonic let one fly from the slot, it saucered it’s way past Price and in to cut the lead to 3-2.
  • 14 minutes later, the Habs would again go up two goals. It just seemed like a no-win situation tonight.
  • Jeff Petry, a man who had one goal coming in to the game, scored twice tonight.
  • Hard to put the blame on the offense in this period. They did throw 15 shots at Price, but aside from the Hamonic goal, he stopped the other 14.

Third Period

  • The Isles owned this period. They were determined to show Montreal that they are not be trifled with.
  • The problem as always, was special teams. They could not cash in on an early power play, nor could they score on one after Nelson brought the team to within a goal. It was a pretty goal too, just as a 4-on-4 was expiring. It should have given the team the boost it needed. Unfortunately, it did not.
  • Capuano also was frustrated that the team couldn’t score up a man. “Third period we had our chances. Had a couple of power plays just couldn’t capitalize… We just couldn’t find the back of the net. Power play, penalty kill are streaky. To me, it’s about entries. (Nick) Leddy had a great opportunity on the breakaway. Once we get it in (the zone) we have to make sure we find the options we want to find. To score on Carey Price it’s going to be second and third opportunities. He’s going to make the first save to me (could have used) a little bit more traffic in front on the power play.
  • As good as Nelson has been, he has to be defensively responsible too. He had a turnover with under nine minutes left that almost led to a Montreal shorthanded goal.
  • The Isles had their chances. With just over eight minutes to go, and the Isles putting some pressure on the Habs, Matt Martin sneaked one past Price, but as has been the case so often this season, it sat on the goal line until it was swept away.
  • The boys from Brooklyn did have one last chance in the waning seconds. John Tavares had a chance off balance, but he couldn’t put it home. He eventually wound up on his knees trying to get the puck to the front. It would only wind up being shot down ice for the empty netter.
  • The Islanders outshot the Canadiens 11-6 in the third and 36-28 for the game.
  • The empty netter killed any hope of an Islanders come back, and the Isles fell 5-3 to snap a brief two game winning streak.

Notes & Quotes

  • The two teams get together on Sunday night for the back end of the home-and-home.
  • The Habs are looking to sweep the Islanders for the second straight season.
  • “They’re a good team. They’re a top team in the league for a reason with Carey Price in net.” Hamonic told Insight. “We get them right away again Sunday night, that’s the beauty of this. We’ll be ready for them Sunday night.”
  • Capuano on Hamonic “He is one of the best players on the ice night in and night out. I do not think it affects our team, changes our team as we move forward here. It just shows you the strong character he has. Its not affecting his play, team first mentality. He is doing everything he can for his guys to win hockey games. “
  • As for the eventual return of Ryan Strome? Capuano says there is no timetable. But, he did score his first goal in Bridgeport tonight, and the Isles are “going to need some offense going forward.”
  • This was a tough loss because they did keep battling back. Unfortunately they just fell short. A win Sunday night, and the home-and-home is a success if you ask me.
  • The Islanders played in front of the second largest crowd of the year tonight, 15,171. They got a pretty good show. The Islanders played with grit and determination. They just fell too far behind early.
  • Next game is Sunday night at 7PM in Montreal.

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