Feb 9, 2012; Uniondale, NY, USA; Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty (67) after scoring during the second period against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Pacioretty, Gomez Lead Canadiens Past Islanders

In quite the nail biter, the Canadiens hung on to win 4-2 against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. There’s some confusion as to whether the 4th goal should have counted, as it seemed to have been scored either exactly as time expired in the third or right after. As of now, according to TSN, it stands as 4-2.

The Canadiens opened the scoring on their first shot of the game at 1:23 into the period courtesy of Max Pacioretty‘s 20th of the season, from Erik Cole. They would extend the lead to 2-0 in the second, on a blistering Max Pacioretty one-timer from David Desharnais. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Scott Gomez scored on a big rebound from Nabakov‘s initial save on Raphael Diaz. That’s right, Scott Gomez is no longer scoreless. He looked absolutely relieved and ecstatic as the players on the ice jumped him for the celebration. That goal, making it 3-0 at the 9:50 mark of the 3rd period seemed to be the nail in coffin. Price, with 3 minutes left in the 3rd, seemed to be on his way to his 3rd shutout of the season.

But alas, the Canadiens have the uncanny ability to make everything more difficult than it needs to be. Matt Moulson scored a goal, which in my eyes seemed to be a high stick, at 17:19, making it 3-1. Only about a minute later, Mark Streit blasted one in past Price, cutting the deficit to 1 goal.

This set up a frantic last few minutes, and Pacioretty would (arguably) complete his hat trick into an empty net.

Well, sometimes they’re ugly but a win’s a win. Depending on your position with regards to TankNation, that’s either a good thing or a bad thing. But here’s some thoughts on the win.

The Positives:

– Not only did the Habs score a powerplay goal, but it was Scott Gomez’s 1st of the season. Enough said. This means a lot to him, obviously, and I was amused by the few hats that rained down for him.

Max Pacioretty is one hell of a storyline. He gets plastered by Chara, breaks his neck and gets a concussion just as he’s starting to show the potential the Canadiens thought he had when they drafted him. People wonder if he will ever be the same. He comes back this season, starts off on fire, slows down, gets suspended and is now back on track. He has 22 goals this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits 30 at this point.

Carey Price. He let in two goals at the end, but I wouldn’t hold him responsible for either of them. The first was off a weird bounce and Moulson batted it out of the air. On the second one, both Kostitsyn and Gomez lost their battles and Streit‘s laser found the back of the net. More importantly, Price made some absolutely spectacular saves when the game was 1-0 and 2-0 to preserve the lead. Felt bad that he couldn’t get the shutout on this one.

The Negatives

Rene Bourque floated around tonight. I suppose floating at his salary as opposed to floating at Cammalleri‘s $6 million salary is relatively better. But still, he needs to use his body if he’s not going to contribute offensively.

– I didn’t enjoy watching Eller tonight. He wasn’t involved in much of anything, other than taking a penalty for a high-stick. Didn’t notice him as much as on other nights where he’s the catalyst for numerous chances.

– The last five minutes of the third. 2 goals? Tighten up boys, the game is 60 minutes.

The Canadiens play the Leafs next on Saturday. It’s Mats Sundin‘s jersey retirement, puck drops at 7:00pm.

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