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Montreal at New York

Islanders prevent Canadiens from clinching playoff berth

CBSSports.com wire reports
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Montreal Canadiens left Long Island five points above the postseason cutoff with a handful of games remaining. A third straight trip to the playoffs? Well, hockey's most famous franchise will have to wait a little longer for that.

Frans Nielsen scored the tying goal with 2:01 left in regulation and added a goal in the shootout as the New York Islanders beat Montreal 4-3 to prevent the Canadiens from clinching a playoff spot on Tuesday.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
Complete Playoff Race

Once the New York Rangers lost at Buffalo earlier Tuesday, the Canadiens needed only to beat the already-eliminated Islanders to get in. That seemed likely once Maxim Lapierre scored on a breakaway 6:20 into the third period to give Montreal a 3-2 lead, but the Islanders ruined the plans.

"I was looking at the scoreboard in the third period," said forward Tomas Plekanec, who scored in the second. "I saw the Rangers were down, but we were trying to focus on our game."

The Canadiens are sixth in the Eastern Conference, five points ahead of the Rangers. Montreal, with two games remaining, is one point in front of Philadelphia and two ahead of Boston. Montreal needs one point at Carolina on Thursday or at home against Toronto on Saturday to qualify for the playoffs.

"They came out pretty strong and we came out fairly flat," said Brian Gionta, whose power-play goal gave the Canadiens their first lead. "I thought the second period we played pretty good, and the third period we sat back too much.

"It would have been nice to win, but it is what it is right now. We put ourselves in this situation. We just have to focus on the last two games."

Nielsen and Matt Moulson scored on New York's only two attempts in the shootout to give the Islanders their fifth win in six games.

"I thought the Islanders came out and played really hard," Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said. "We knew that they've been playing well lately. I thought we raised our level of intensity and we let the game slip away. They're a good young team and they work hard. We knew it wasn't going to be easy."

Martin Biron made 28 traditional saves and then stopped Lapierre on Montreal's first shootout attempt. Mike Cammalleri then hit the post on the final try to seal New York's win.

"Even though we're out, everybody is loose," said Sean Bergenheim, who had a goal and two assists. "We're playing with more of a positive atmosphere with winning games. When we're down and we still get the win, I think it shows that this team has grown."

Lapierre's breakaway goal gave the Canadiens a 3-2 lead in the third period. Plekanec and Gionta scored 2:36 apart in the second for Montreal, which had won three straight.

Jaroslav Halak, who appears to have won the job as Montreal's No. 1 goalie over Carey Price, had his long shutout streak snapped when Blake Comeau gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead in the first period. Halak bounced back and made 39 saves, but that wasn't enough.

Coming off back-to-back shutouts against Philadelphia and Buffalo, Halak allowed Comeau's 17th of the season at 12:29 of the first. It was the first goal Halak had given up in 156 minutes, 30 seconds.

Montreal had earned points in 12 straight games against New York (10-0-2) and was looking for a season sweep in front of a large contingent of fans that cheered and chanted for the Canadiens from the moment the first puck was dropped.

"We didn't beat them all year so we wanted to come out and get a little bit of revenge," Islanders rookie John Tavares said. "It was a good win by us. I thought we dominated, especially in the third period."

Just over four minutes after Bergenheim got the Islanders even at 2, Lapierre split New York's defensemen and came in alone on Biron. He shifted the puck quickly to his backhand and lifted a shot over the fallen goalie.

Comeau played only five shifts that totaled 2:34 of ice time -- all in the first period -- before being forced out of the game by a foot injury. He is expected to be re-evaluated on Wednesday. He put the Islanders ahead when he took Bergenheim's blind, behind-the back feed from the lower right corner and smacked in a shot from the doorstep. New York carried that lead into the second after outshooting Montreal 15-5 in the first.

Notes

  • Before Comeau scored, Halak hadn't allowed a goal since New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus got a puck past him with 4:41 left in the second period of Montreal's loss on March 27.
  • Montreal hasn't had three straight shutout wins since they posted four in 1949.
  • Comeau has five goals and two assists in the past four games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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After tying the game in regulation, Frans Nielsen also nets the winning goal in the shootout. (Getty Images)
After tying the game in regulation, Frans Nielsen also nets the winning goal in the shootout. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Montreal (39-32-9)02100 (0)3
NY Islanders  (34-35-10) «10201 (2)4
Three Stars
S. Bergenheim
NYI


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
M. Lapierre
MON


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
M. Biron
NYI


Saves: 28
Save Pct.: .903
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
12:29Blake Comeau (17), Snap Shot. Assist: Bergenheim
2ND PERIOD
07:08Tomas Plekanec (25), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kostitsyn
09:44Power Play - Brian Gionta (26), Backhand Shot. Assist: Gorges
3RD PERIOD
02:01Sean Bergenheim (10), Slap Shot. Assist: Reese
06:20Maxim Lapierre (7), Backhand Shot. Assist: Darche, Bergeron
17:59Frans Nielsen (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: Park, Bergenheim
OT
None
2OT
 Matt Moulson (4), GOAL
 Frans Nielsen (7), GOAL
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:04Bailey, 2 min, Interference
17:44Gill, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
08:33Bailey, 2 min, Hooking
15:28Markov, 2 min, Slashing
15:28Hunter, 2 min, Roughing
18:28Gomez, 2 min, Roughing
3RD PERIOD
None
OT
03:11Kostitsyn, 2 min, Hooking
2OT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
Montreal515929
New York1591236
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGASO SSO GA
Jaroslav Halak 65:0039322
Martin Biron 64:5728320
Game Information
Attendance - 10263
Referees - Dan O'Rourke, Kelly Sutherland
Linesmen - Brad Kovachik, Brad Lazarowich
 
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NJ 3 Final
Atl 0
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Dal 2
Phi 2 Final
Tor 0
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