UNIONDALE - Third time’s a charm for the Habs as they topple the Islanders in Uniondale with an explosion of third period goals.
After frustrating results in their first two games of the season against the Islanders, it was clear the Canadiens hit the ice Thursday night determined on avoiding the series sweep with a strong performance on the road. With a tight two periods in the book and the teams tied at two, the Habs did what they’ve done so well all season and silenced the Nassau Coliseum crowd with flurry of third period goals to which the Isles had no answer.
“It’s a good feeling to know that when we’re in the middle of a game, we’re able to come out that strong when we need to,” shared Brendan Gallagher, who finished his night with a plus-2 and the game’s fifth goal that put the match on ice for the Habs. “It would have been good if we could have done the same thing in the first and second periods, but when the coach puts you on the ice in an important situation in the third, you just want to try and find a way to contribute however you can.
“As a team, we played a great third period,” he added. “I think it was an excellent road game for us.”
Excellent road games are something that Canadiens fans have become accustomed to over the course of the 2012-13 campaign, and another one over the team that’s arguably given the Habs the most problems this season just makes the win all the sweeter.
“It was a tough game for sure. Especially when it’s a 2-2 game like that and you go up early in the third period and then you have 16 minutes to grind away - it’s not easy,” admitted P.K. Subban, who turned in another monster performance for his team, finishing the night with his eighth and ninth goals of the season while logging a plus-2 over 22:13 of ice-time. “We were happy to get the fourth goal, it was big for us and kind of set the tone for the rest of the game and then we got the fifth one and that was the end of it. I thought we played well, but we definitely have to give our goaltender Pricey credit for shutting the door.”
The victory in Long Island sends the Canadiens back to Montreal having collected points in 18 of their last 19 games. It also marked the 16th win of the season for Carey Price, tying for the league-lead in that category. Turning in another solid performance behind his team, Price stopped 25 of the Islanders’ 27 shots on the night, but none more important than the barrage he faced from the league’s fifth-best power play in the second period, minutes after the Habs had pulled even at two.
“This was a big win for us. We wanted to rebound after that last game. I don’t think we played particularity well in those first two periods, but we came out really strong in the third,” expressed Price, following a win that saw him keep his team in the game throughout the second frame. “We’re really comfortable in tight games when we come out in the third period. We have a group with an incredible will and work ethic that allows us to overcome tough situations.”
The Canadiens’ third period storm of goals marked the 16th time in 30 games this year that the Habs have scored four or more goals on their adversaries, ranking them as one of the highest-scoring teams in the NHL. While the surge in production isn’t something you’re likely to hear Price complain about any time soon, it’s not necessarily something that surprises him much either.
“Well… the guys score a lot of goals in practice,” said the goalie, with a grin. “So no, it’s not really that hard for me to believe that they’re able to score that much.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com
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