Andrew Ladd scored twice while Josh Bailey added a late insurance goal as the New York Islanders downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 Thursday at the Barclays Center. The win increased the Islanders’ point streak to six games (5-0-1) as the two teams head into the All-Star weekend.
Interim coach Doug Weight said his team’s performance was their best of the season. “It was a team effort. You can’t find me a guy who had a bad shift,” Weight said. “We played hard, we were playing fast.”
The Islanders controlled play for most of the game and outshot the Canadiens 42-22. Only the strong goaltending of Carey Price, who made 39 saves in a losing effort, kept the Habs in the hockey game.
Islanders starter Thomas Greiss made 21 stops and improved his record to 11-3-3 in his last 17 games. John Tavares added two assists and now has 13 points in his last eight games. Defenseman Nick Leddy also had two helpers and now has 11 points in his last eight contests.
The Islanders’ win streak has gotten them back into the very tight race for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The team has clearly also regained its confidence.
“When you start getting results, it’s a little easier to have a little extra belief,” Bailey said. “When you win some games and get the ball rolling the right way you can feel it throughout the team. We’ve got to keep that going.”
The Islanders played one of their best first periods of the season and applied pressure early, taking five of the first six shots on goal in the game and bottling the puck up in the Montreal zone for long stretches.
Andrew Ladd gave the Isles the lead at 14:07 on a shot from the circle that surprised Price and slipped through his pads. Defenseman Calvin de Haan set up the play with a well-timed pinch to keep the puck in the Montreal zone.
Despite having a power play in the period, the Canadiens managed only four shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes while the Islanders had 14. The Isles headed into the dressing room at the first intermission with a well-earned 1-0 lead.
The Islanders continued to play strong hockey in the second period and had several quality scoring chances, but Price managed to keep the Isles off the board, making another 16 saves in the second period and getting a little help from the post on a tricky shot by Ladd.
The Canadiens evened the game on a power-play goal when Shea Weber blasted the puck past Greiss. Alexander Radulov was in front of the goal creating havoc on the play.
The Islanders had outshot the Habs 30-13 through 40 minutes, but the game was tied 1-1.
The Islanders dominated play early in the third period and took advantage of a four-on-four situation to regain the lead at the 7:20 mark. Ladd beat Price high to the glove side on a snap shot off a pass by John Tavares.
The Islanders added to their lead when Josh Bailey blasted a slap shot over Price’s shoulder on the power play with 4:47 left in the game.
The Canadiens were only able to muster nine shots on goal in the third period despite trailing for the final 12:40 of the game. They were unable to cash in on a late power-play chance when Anders Lee was called for roughing with 2:44 remaining in the game. The Habs pulled Price for a sixth attacker but failed to beat Greiss to narrow the deficit.
NYI – Andrew Ladd (9) assisted by Calvin de Haan and Nick Leddy
MON – Shea Weber (12) PPG assisted by Andrew Shaw and Nathan Beaulieu
NYI – Andrew Ladd (10) assisted by John Tavares and Nick Leddy
NYI – Josh Bailey (7) PPG assisted by Anders Lee and John Tavares
THW Three Stars
First: Andrew Ladd (2 Goals)
Second: John Tavares (2 assists)
Third: Carey Price (39 saves)
Washington Capitals vs New York Islanders
Barclays Center – 7:00 PM EST on Tuesday, Jan. 31
Broadcast Channels: MSG-Plus and CSN-DC-plus
2016-17 Season Series: Oct. 15: Capitals 2, Islanders 1; Dec. 1: Islanders 3, Capitals 0; Dec. 13: Capitals 4, Islanders 2; Dec. 27: Islanders 4, Capitals 3
Buffalo Sabres vs Montreal Canadiens
Bell Centre – 7:30 PM EST on Tuesday, Jan. 31
Broadecast Channels: MSG-Buffalo; RDS and SNE
2016-17 Season Series: Oct. 13: Canadiens 4, Sabres 1; Jan. 21: Sabres 3, Canadiens 2 (OT);