Canadiens defeat Islanders in OT
The Montreal Canadiens survived a tough night on the penalty kill at home and defeated the New York Islanders 3-2 in overtime Monday.
Veteran defenceman Roman Hamrlik scored the winner 1:32 into overtime, thanks to some hard work by Tomas Plekanec.
Plekanec blew by two Islander defenders and slid the puck over to Hamrlik, who fired it over a sprawling Martin Biron.
"There was an opportunity to jump into the play and it just happened," said Hamrlik, who led the team with 25:34 of ice time. "Overtime is going our way, but you don't want to go to OT, you want to win in 60 minutes."
Jaroslav Spacek and Travis Moen scored the other goals for Montreal, and Jeff Tambellini had two power-play tallies in a losing cause for New York.
"We're taking only the positives out of this game," said Tambellini "We found a way to come back twice in a really hostile environment. Marty Biron stood on his head and we found a way to gut out a point."
Moen added an assist and Glen Metropolit had two helpers of his own for the Habs.
Spacek opens scoring
Spacek scored in the first period to give Montreal a 1-0 lead and Tambellini replied with his first of the night late in the second frame.
Moen restored the Canadiens' advantage at 7:44 of the third but Tambellini replied with his second of the game at 15:44 to send it to overtime.
After a scintillating night against the New York Rangers on Saturday, when he notched a hat trick that included the game-winner in overtime, Montreal's Mike Cammalleri provided an encore for Habs fans Monday by assisting on the team's second goal.
Cammalleri, who signed with Montreal in the off-season, has a five-game point streak.
Hamrlik, Spacek stepping up
Hamrlik and Spacek are the No. 1 defending pair for the Habs since top defenceman Andrei Markov severed a tendon in his foot during the season opener Oct. 1 in Toronto. Defenceman Ryan O'Byrne was injured a game later.
"They gave us offensive production as well as playing most of the time against the top line," said coach Jacques Martin. "That was Spacek's first goal and we expected more offence from him this year, but when Markov and O'Byrne went down, they're been given the mandate of playing against the other teams' top lines."
New York's John Tavares, the top overall pick in the June draft at the Bell Centre, was held without a point for a fourth straight game. He recorded four goals and three assists in New York's first six games.
Montreal has won four straight, vaulting back over .500 with a 6-5-0 record. Five of those six wins have come in overtime, as the Canadiens are a perfect 5-0 in the extra session.
The Islanders are no strangers to extra time, either. Though New York only has one win in its first 10 games this season and is on a three-game losing streak, the Isles have seven points in the standings thanks to five overtime and shootout losses (1-4-5).
The Habs came into the game No. 2 in the NHL in penalty killing on home ice this season, but surrendered two power-play goals on seven New York opportunities Monday.
Montreal was 0-for-2 on its power-play chances.
The teams were even in shots after the game at 31-31. Both goalies had their moments, as the Habs' Jaroslav Halak stopped 29 shots, and New York's Biron made 28 saves.