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When Facing an AHL Goalie…

Regular season game #30

The Islanders have long been a doormat, but in recent years they have been a thorn in the Canadiens’ side…at least that’s the popular belief. Once again, a quick glance at recent history says that the Habs are 5-3-3 against the Islanders since the 2010-11 season. Certainly not what I’d call “owning” a team, but a .591 win percentage hardly qualifies as something to whine too much about when perception is out of whack with reality.

After leaving a point on the table on Tuesday against Buffalo, it was important for Montreal to get the win against Long Island. In the early going, things looked iffy, as some sloppy play from both teams led to a 2-2 game. The ingredients were present for the Habs to let another one slip away, but once again, the third period came along to save their bacon.

That, and one Kevin Poulin. The Islanders backup looked about as confident and graceful in goal as Martin Short did in his short career as a synchronized swimmer. He looked like he was terrified at the sight of the puck all night long, as pucks bounced off him in every which direction. Scrambling to stay on his feet and in his crease, Poulin finally gave up the ghost in the third period; surrendering three goals on 10 shots. The lesson? Shoot the puck at jello-legged AHL goalies.

The usual suspects were stirring the drink for the Habs tonight. P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty, and newcomer Gabriel Dumont. Just two nights after being publicly admonished by his coach, Subban simply scored another pair of goals, and now has 22 points in 24 games. The cost to resign him goes up by the day. Rookies Gallagher and Dumont were busy raising hell and keeping the Islanders off their game all night long. While Gallagher’s a permanent resident, Dumont looks poised to unseat one of Travis Moen or Colby Armstrong with his in-your-face style.

We would also be remiss not to mention David Desharnais’ 100th and 101st NHL points, as he assisted on Brian Gionta’s game winning goal early in the third period, and also assisted on Gallagher’s tally. It was also his first point since signing his contract extension two weeks ago. Interestingly, Desharnais was finally held accountable by Michel Therrien for recent lacklustre play, as he saw less than four minutes in both the second and third periods. Let us stow the talk that he’s ben getting a free pass for now, yes?

Michael Ryder’s opening tally represented his 10th point in 10 games since joining the Habs (Erik Cole, for his part, is still mired in his season-long funk at two goals in nine games since joining the Stars). Bergevin’s trade looks better and better, doesn’t it?

At 20-5-5, Montreal has twice as many wins as combined losses. With the season 5/8ths complete, nobody on the planet could have predicted this. The Canadiens have been on a season-long run that shows no sign of slowing down.

Follow me on twitter: @kyleroussel


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