UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Benoit Pouliot snapped a third-period tie, and Alex Auld made 30 saves in his season debut to earn his first victory in nine months and the Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Islanders 3-1 on Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
Pouliot, the trail man on a 3-on-2 rush, took a back pass from Jeff Halpern from the right circle dot and snapped a shot past goalie Dwayne Roloson 7:19 into the third. Travis Moen scored with 1:49 left to make it 3-1
Montreal swept the home-and-home series from the Islanders, and handed New York its first regulation loss at Nassau Coliseum (2-1-1) and third consecutive loss overall. The Canadiens, who have won six of seven, are 11-0-3 against the Islanders since the start of the 2007-08 season.
Tomas Plekanec scored for the third straight game to give the Canadiens (7-2-1) a 1-0 lead in the first period. Matt Martin answered in the second for the Islanders with his first NHL goal. Roloson made 23 saves, but lost Montreal for the second time in three nights.
Auld, who hadn't won since Jan. 29, beat the Islanders for the first time in five starts.
Martin had an eventful second period, netting his first goal and then taking on hulking defenseman Hal Gill for his third career fight.
Martin got the Islanders even with 3:15 left in the second when he took a perfect feed from Frans Nielsen from the end boards and one-timed a shot from the slot past Auld. In the closing seconds of the period, Martin was finishing up a hardworking shift in which he landed several hits but then had to deal with the 6-foot-7 Gill, who came in to protect his teammates. Martin dropped the gloves first and then held on.
Montreal was outshot 13-4 in the second, but was successful on the defensive end in killing New York's 5-on-3 power play that lasted for 1:43 midway through the frame. The short-handed situation was made more difficult by the fact that the penalties were committed by Gill and fellow defenseman P.K. Subban, who were both whistled for interference against John Tavares, the Islanders' leading goal scorer.
The Canadiens got off to a fast start and took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Plekanec scored his fifth of the season at 2:42 - just 18 seconds into a power play. Michael Cammalleri's shot was blocked in front by Islanders defenseman Mark Eaton, and the puck caromed to Plekanec, who finished off a stuff-in from the left post.
Montreal kept up the pressure, but neither team could generate much offense on a tough ice surface, that produced many bouncing pucks and several flubbed shots. Some players even fell in spots. The Canadiens held a 9-2 shots edge 10 minutes into the game, but New York countered with an 18-7 spurt over the next 30 minutes through the second period.
Auld looked good despite not playing in a game since March 6 while with the New York Rangers. His best stop came 4:15 into the second period when he thwarted Matt Moulson's short-handed breakaway.
NOTES: Montreal G Carey Price sat out for the first time in 10 games. ... Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said that D Andrei Markov is expected to make his season debut Saturday at home against Florida. Markov underwent knee surgery in May. ... The Islanders assigned forward Rob Schremp to Bridgeport (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. Schremp has been out since the preseason because of a lower-back injury. ... Martin has three points in seven NHL games. ... Islanders D Bruno Gervais made his season debut, but he played as a forward on a checking line in place of LW Trevor Gillies, who was scratched for the first time this season. ... Auld hadn't beaten the Islanders since Jan. 14, 2006.
Numbers Game - Oct. 29, 2010