MONTREAL – Nate Thompson set the tone for the game with a strong under-power spot and the Canadiens defeated the New York Islanders 4-0 on Thursday.
The Islanders gave the Canadiens a lesson last week, laying the law in a 2-1 win at Long Island. The story was very different this time.
With Jeff Petry and Shea Weber in the dungeon, Phillip Danault won the penalty on the right of his goalkeeper, helping the Habs to survive 21 seconds to five against three. Thompson also played a key role in those digital inferiorities, including winning a battle along the ramp against three Islanders for a chance to score.
Then, the Canadian’s power play – which was 1 in 25 in his last 11 games before the game – generated the first goal of the game, with 6.3 seconds left in the first period. Joel Armia took advantage of a short discount from Jordan Weal to sparkle the red light.
“Our early penalty kill early in the game did a good job,” said Canadiens head coach Claude Julien. It took the wind out of the sails. We came back with energy and our power play scored a big goal. ”
Armia, Weal and Jonathan Drouin each had a goal and an assist, while Shea Weber also scored for the Canadian (39-28-7), who had not scored more than three goals in a game in eight outings since March 1st.
Carey Price was brilliant when asked and he made 28 saves. He added a fourth shutout to his season record, a career-best 44th.
Boost of the Oilers
The Canadiens were also given a helping hand by the Edmonton Oilers, who hosted the Blue Jackets in the late evening. The Alberta squad scored a 4-1 win, allowing the Habs to beat Columbus in the eighth and final place in the Eastern Conference playoff.
Under the Carolina Hurricanes’ 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Canadiens also came close to two points from the first extra pass in the East. The Hurricanes however have one more game to play by the end of the campaign.
The Islanders (42-25-7) lost their last game 5-0 on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins and did nothing to impress their coach. Thomas Greiss allowed four goals on 22 shots before giving up his place to Robin Lehner, who made 12 saves.
Weber doubled the Canadian’s lead after 63 seconds of play in the second period, thanks to a sharp shot.
Price had to report later. He notably made a spectacular save at the expense of Jordan Eberle only
27 seconds before Drouin gets the score at 3-0 at 6:00.
Drouin put an end to a scare of 17 games without touching the target. He had been cleared from the score sheet in 16 of his last 17 outings, including the nine most recent games.
“It’s a guy who wants to do well, a guy who still works hard,” said Julien about Drouin. He was also a frustrated guy because he was not scoring. He scored a great goal tonight. If he unblocks and regains his enthusiasm, so much the better, because it’s a good time for it to happen. ”
Weal then ended Greiss’s work night at 8:19, deflecting a shot from Jordie Benn.
The Canadiens will play two games this weekend. He will first host the Buffalo Sabers on Saturday before visiting the Hurricanes on Sunday.