Okposo helps Islanders jolt Canadiens - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Okposo helps Islanders jolt Canadiens

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MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Kyle Okposo took advantage of an extended

opportunity to stretch his goals streak to four games.

Okposo's goal 26 seconds into overtime gave the New York

Islanders a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday

night.

The rookie got his 16th goal when he outmaneuvered defenseman

Mathieu Schneider to recover a loose puck before slipping a shot

under All-Star Carey Price's pads from the right edge of the

crease.

"The puck just kind of hit my foot, and I couldn't find it

forever," Okposo said. "Schneider and I were battling and I

finally kicked it up to my stick and just tried to get it on

net. I don't even know how it went in."

Former Canadiens goalie Yann Danis made 24 saves as the

Islanders, who have the fewest points in the NHL, improved to

2-1-0 against Montreal this season. New York is 5-1-2 in its

last eight.

"I spoke to him last week and asked him if he wanted to play

against Montreal and his eyes lit up," Islanders coach Scott

Gordon said. "It was obviously a great feeling for him to come

back here, and he did a great job in the first, especially the

first half of the period. Montreal came out hard and set the

tempo early and we weathered the storm, and a lot of it was

because of the play of Yann."

Danis, who debuted with Montreal in 2005-06, was delighted to

get an opportunity to face his former team again in the wake of

a 5-4 home loss to the Canadiens on November 1. He allowed four

straight goals after being staked to a 4-1 lead.

"I was really looking forward to this game to bounce back, and

to have it here is something special," Danis said. "I can't

thank enough the guys. I think they showed up tonight and they

played a really hard game."

Frans Nielsen's power-play goal early in the third gave New York

a 2-1 lead after rookie Mike Iggulden tied the game at 1-1 with

his first NHL tally midway through the first.

Tom Kostopoulos drew Montreal even at 2-2 midway through the

third. Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring with his 19th goal on

a power play 5:04 in.

Price stopped 36 shots, including a spectacular glove save on

Jeff Tambellini's shot with 55 seconds remaining in regulation

to help Montreal secure a point.

"It's a huge point for us to lose," Kostopoulos said. "I mean,

if it wasn't for our goalie, we would have lost two points.

We've got to change our second period, something's going on

there, we've got to get more emotion and better forechecking.

In the second, we seemed to sit back."

The Canadiens are 1-0-1 in two games since general manager Bob

Gainey took over as coach after firing Guy Carbonneau.

"I think they get out of sync with the play on the ice and we

get trapped in our zone with tired players more than we can

afford to," Gainey said. "Tired players do not respond or react

to whatever situation is there.

"We sometimes give off the impression that we look like we are a

deer trapped in the headlights because the players have more

instinct than that, but whether it's tightness, the other team

is taking advantage of our hesitation and our lack of

assertiveness and confidence to play simple plays."

Nielsen put the Islanders up 2-1 when he deflected All-Star

defenseman Mark Streit's point shot past Price for a power-play

goal 51 seconds into the third.

Montreal was shorthanded after rookie Gregory Stewart had an

unsportsmanlike conduct minor added to his fighting major for

his bout with Tim Jackman 7 seconds into the period.

Kostopoulos directed All-Star defenseman Andrei Markov's

centering pass into an open right side at 9:14 for his eighth

goal.

Plekanec opened the scoring 5:04 in with a power-play goal

moments after he had one disallowed on an earlier advantage. He

circled back and beat Danis with a wrist shot from the right

circle for his 19th goal.

Montreal missed an opportunity to take a two-goal lead while

killing a penalty moments later when Danis stopped Chris Higgins

on a shorthanded breakaway.

Iggulden tied it at 11:33. Iggulden, who had four assists in

his first three games after he was recalled from Bridgeport of

the AHL on Saturday, took Blake Comeau's centering pass from

behind the net and put a shot past Price.

"It's great," Iggulden said. "I've worked really hard down in

the AHL for about four years and to finally get an opportunity

to play in the NHL, it's just been amazing. I'm just trying to

work as hard as I can and hopefully make a good impression on my

coach, my teammates and the organization."

Referee Don Koharski immediately waved off Plekanec's goal 1:46

in. A video review backed up Koharski's ruling that Plekanec's

stick made contact above the crossbar when he batted a rebound

of Markov's shot.

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