Monday, November 2, 2009

Habs Rip Struggling Islanders

By Ross Everett

The Montreal Canadiens have gotten off to a slow start this season, and entered Thursday night's game against the New York Islanders having gone thirteen games without a win in regulation dating back to last season. Apparently, all they needed to cure their ails was a team that was struggling more than they are. The Islanders only have one win on the season, and the Habs jumped on them early scoring three goals in the first two periods en route to a 5-1 victory at the Bell Centre.

NHL hockey betting devotees who weren't scared away by the -180 home favorite price tag on Montreal cashed their tickets with the Canadiens' big win. It was the sixth win for the Habs in their last eight meetings with the Islanders. The six goals scored just managed to go OVER the posted total of 5'. The Canadiens went OVER for only the fourth time in nine games, while the Islanders have gone OVER in five of their nine contests.

The sputtering Montreal offense finally woke up, helped by a 43-22 shots on goal advantage. When Montreal opened a 2-0 lead in the first period it marked the first time this season that they'd led by more than a goal, a fact that surprised left winger Mike Cammalleri:

"We're making it hard on ourselves. That's something -- I didn't realize that until right now but that makes sense. Every game's been so tight, and it's important to try and win in tight games and find ways to win those games but at the same time you can't do that 82 times a year and then however many games in the playoffs, so it was important to get out to a little bit of a lead and hang on to one tonight."

Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halek played well in relief of starter Carey Price, but lost his shutout bid when he misplayed a puck just seconds into the final period. Cammalleri described a conversation he had with Halek after the game:

"After the game I went to give him a hug and he said, 'I don't like shutouts. And I said, 'Well, you better like shutouts!' But he played great when we needed him tonight, made some solid saves, and we'll let that one go."

Islanders' coach Scott Gordon admitted that his team's listless play made it easy for the Habs' to dominate:

"We were a pretty easy team to play against. Defensively we were on our heels because of all our turnovers and it wasn't just in one area, it was coming out of our zone, it was situations where we had full control of the puck and we're not making plays. It's probably the worst that I've ever seen it tonight and it's something that we've got to get better at."

Montreal plays their next two games at home, hosting the New York Rangers on Saturday night and welcoming the Islanders back to the Bell Centre for another game next Monday night. They'll then head to Pittsburgh for a game against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins on Wednesday. The Islanders have a Saturday night home game against the Washington Capitals before their return engagement with Montreal.

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