Uniondale, NY – Matt Martin was able to net his first goal as an Islander, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the high-powered Montreal Canadiens in the 3-1 loss in hockey action on Friday night. The Islanders (4-4-2) were able to hold the Canadiens (7-2-1) to a 1-1 tie until a third period barrage of shots gave Montreal the victory.
The Canadiens were able to net the first goal of the game, on the strength of a power play goal by Tomas Plekanec (5) connecting on a behind the net wrist shot, which was assisted by Michael Cammalleri (4) and Roman Hamrlik (4).
Martin was able to cash in with his first NHL goal by cashing in a second chance snap shot, which was assisted by Frans Nielsen and Trent Hunter. Martin gave the Islanders a spark during the course of the game and was two-thirds of the way to a Gordie Howe hat trick. Dishing out some big hits and dropping the gloves for the first time in his career against veteran fighter Hall Gill.
“I’ve got a big body and that helps, the coaches always told me to get in front of the net so that’s what I do,” said Martin after the game. “The goal feels great, but it would have been better if we won.”
The young winger held his own laying some nice right hooks as the two players had to eventually get separated by the officials on the ice, but not before a rousing ovation from the 11,922 in attendance. For the rest of the Islanders squad, the offense was kept in check for the most part including a golden two-man advantage in the second period. The Islanders also had a golden power play opportunity in the third but could not cash in on any goals.
“You do the best you can to try to create the shots and we had the shots and either we turned them down or didn‘t get the shot off,” said head coach Scott Gordon after the game. “It is frustrating because we played a game tonight in which the score doesn’t reflect the end results.”
Montreal was just too much offensively in the third period cashing in on two goals for the eventual 3-1 victory. First it was a wicked wrist shot from Benoit Pouliot (2) who was able to cash in on an offensive rush, which was assisted by Jeff Halpern (3) and P.K. Subban (6) at the 7:19 mark. Travis Moen (2) capped off the victory with a far corner wrist shot at the 18:11 mark with the assist from Canadiens captain Brian Gionta (2)
“I was yelling at him to pass, he (Halpern) did a great play and heard me at the last minute. It was a perfect pass.” Pouliot would have this to say of his goal, which eventually broke the tie and gave Montreal the momentum they needed to get the win
In the cage for Montreal keeper Alex Auld had gone nine months since his last NHL victory was outstanding in making 30 saves, including having a puck hit his chest by Islanders center Jon Tavares in the final minutes of the third period.
“I’ve been feeling good and feeling ready,” Auld said. “I waited like this before so it was nothing new for me. You want to play and help the team win and hopefully get another shot.”
“Our timing is better, we could have played with more energy,” said John Tavares. “We all played pretty well tonight all we need to have done was score a few more goals and things would have went differently tonight.”
On the other end of the ice Islanders keeper Dwayne Roloson made 23 saves in a solid effort, it was early in the first period of play that Roloson seemed to have had a problem with the edge of his skate. Thankfully though the Islanders staff handled the situation quickly and Roloson was able to get back to work.
“We played great tonight and we just need to be able to get some goals,” Roloson said after the game. “We are making steps in the right direction and everything else is going to come.”
Coach Gordon agrees saying, “We are going to build off of the positive things that happened tonight in the second and third period and try to play aggressively as a team from the start of the game.”
The Islanders will now go on the road again for a trip against rival Philadelphia Flyers for a 7:00 p.m. Saturday night game.