Late breakdown proves costly for Canadiens in loss vs. Islanders
|Montreal Gazette 14 Mar 2019 at 19:12|
UNIONDALE â€” A breakdown in the closing minutes proved costly for the Canadiens as Anders Lee scored with 2:57 remaining to give the New York Islanders a 2-1 win over Montreal Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum. Max Domi lost the puck in the offensive zone and the result was a 2-on-1 break with Matthew Barzal setting up Lee for the winner.
This was an old-fashioned goaltending duel between the Canadiensâ€™ Carey Price, who made 36 saves, and the Islandersâ€™ Thomas Greiss, who had 33.
The loss prevented the Canadiens from moving back into a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. They are tied in points with Columbus, but the Blue Jackets own the tiebreaker and also have a game in hand.
Neither team was able to score in the first period, but the Islanders had the upper hand for most of the frame. Price was kept busy with the Islanders outshooting the Canadiens 15-9.
Most of the shots that reached Price were straight on and he did a good job of not allowing rebounds.
The Canadiensâ€™ best chance came when Greiss left a rebound after Jeff Petryâ€™s shot from the blue line. There was an opening for Max Domi in front, but he lost control of the puck when he attempted to go to his backhand.
The Islandersâ€™ persistence paid off early in the second period when Adam Pelech opened the scoring at 1:20. This time, there was a rebound after Price turned away a shot from Brock Nelson and Pelech scored from the slot.
The goal brought some life to the Canadiens and they responded by outshooting the Islanders 8-2 over the next five minutes. They had a 2-on-1 break with Jesperi Kotkaniemi finding Jonathan Drouin for a shot that was stopped by Greiss, but the home team regained the momentum when Brett Kulak was sent off for high-sticking. The Canadiens were unable to get the puck out of their zone during the New York power play, but Price made two big saves to keep the game close.
Defenceman Jordie Benn pulled the Canadiens even when he scored his career-high fifth goal of the season at 18:10. Bennâ€™s first shot from the left point was blocked, but Greiss left a rebound and Paul Byron directed the puck back to Benn for a second attempt. Byron was in front and his challenge on the shot was to duck away from the puck as it caught Greiss by surprise.
The Canadiensâ€™ frustration on the power play continues. Montreal had two advantages and failed to score. They have only two goals on 36 opportunities over their last 15 games. On their second power play, they not only failed to get a shot on goal, but the first unit passed the puck out of the offensive zone twice. The Islanders also went 0-for-2 on the power play.
The Canadiens are back home at the Bell Centre to face the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday (7 p.m., City, SNE, TVA Sports, TSN-690 Radio).