Nabokov earns shutout as Isles top Canadiens 2-0
MONTREAL (AP) Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for his fourth shutout this season, and Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson scored power-play goals late in the second period as the New York Islanders topped the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 on Thursday night.
The loss, combined with Tampa Bay's 4-2 win over Philadelphia, hurt the Canadiens' chances of starting the playoffs on home ice. Montreal is second in the Atlantic Division with 98 points and one game left to play, while the Lightning have 97 points with two games remaining.
The Islanders posted their first regulation win in four games, but improved to 7-2-2 in their last 11 games.
The Canadiens, coming off a 3-2 overtime loss in Chicago on Wednesday, came out flat and never got their energy up as they were outshot 30-19.
New York held a 9-2 shots advantage early in the opening period, but couldn't beat Carey Price, even when the Montreal goaltender wandered halfway up the left boards and then misplayed the puck.
But Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray, who returned from a three-game suspension, was ejected at 10:52 of the second period for a check from behind on Johan Sundstrom. The Islanders rookie turned around just as Murray checked him at the side of the net into the end boards.
Sundstrom was injured and taken to a hospital for tests. There was no immediate word on his condition.
The Islanders used the ensuing power play to open the scoring as Strome put a shot past Price through a screen by Casey Cizikas from the right circle at 15:07.
With former Islander Thomas Vanek off for high-sticking, Nelson whipped a shot under the cross bar from close range at 19:40.
NOTES: Murray drew his first career suspension for an elbow to the head of Tampa Bay's Michael Kostka on April 1. ... The Canadiens end their regular season Saturday at home against the New York Rangers. Tampa Bay plays at home Friday night against Columbus and Sunday against Washington. ... Price and defensemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Elemin, who were given a game off Wednesday in Chicago, were back in the lineup. Forward Lars Eller missed a second game with the flu. There was no update on the knee injury suffered Wednesday by forward Alex Galchenyuk.