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Halak, Canadiens silence Islanders

Mar 16, 2008 - 3:30 AM
MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Jaroslav Halak and the Montreal Canadiens kept their respective streaks intact Saturday.

The 22-year-old netminder stopped all 30 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season and defenseman Roman Hamrlik, Alexei Kovalev and Guillaume Latendresse scored as the Canadiens skated to a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders.

The victory enabled Montreal (40-24-9) to sweep its season series with the Islanders for the first time since 1996-97 and move past idle Ottawa (40-25-7) for first place in the Northeast Division. The Canadiens trail the New Jersey Devils (42-24-6) by one point in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I try not to look at (the standings). I obviously look at them in the paper," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "Two days ago, we were in first place, and then we were in fifth. A few teams will lose and we'll win and then be back in first. Different teams can be in first or fourth or fifth, and that's the way it's going to be right to the end."

Halak, who improved to 8-0-0 lifetime at the Bell Centre, stopped 10 shots in the first period, eight in the second and 12 in the third en route to his third career blanking.

"It's a good feeling. The guys did a great job (of) keeping the play outside, and when there was a rebound, they'd get the puck clear," Halak said. "I was looking forward to today's game because it was almost a year since I have played at the Bell Centre.

"I have no idea why (I play so well here). Every time we play at home, it's a big charge. We have the best fans in the league, so every time I want to win (for them)."

All-Star Rick DiPietro made 26 saves for New York (32-34-7), which fell to 3-9-0 in its last 12 games and remained nine points behind eighth-place Philadelphia (35-27-10) in the East.

"It's a tough one - every time you lose, it's tough - but (Montreal) is a nice place to play on a Saturday night," DiPietro said. "It's a great place to win, but unfortunately, we weren't able to do that.

"We won't let (a losing attitude) creep into our locker room. There are guys trying to earn jobs for next year. We come at it like it's the first game of the season. We give the same effort."

DiPietro's performance gave the Islanders a chance to stay in the game.

"I thought he played really well," New York captain Bill Guerin said. "He made a couple of big saves, and we needed them at the time. He kept us in the game for a long time, and that's what we need from him."

The Islanders have been plagued by injuries, but Guerin refused to use that as an excuse.

"We have who we have," he said. "We've got 10 guys injured, but you know what? They can't help us right now. And you can't look to them for help.

"What's Mike Sillinger going to do with his plastic hip? Nothing right now, and we'd love to have him, but we don't. We have to worry about the guys here, and hopefully, the young guys will grab a great opportunity."

A former Islander, Hamrlik opened the scoring at 7:04 of the second period.

With Montreal on a power play, fellow defenseman Mark Streit's blast from just inside the blue line was kicked out by DiPietro. But Hamrlik pinched in and pounced on the rebound, beating the netminder for his fifth goal of the season.

The tally broke an 0-for-11 drought with the man advantage for the Canadiens.

Kovalev doubled the advantage 5:54 into the third period, when he received a beautiful cross-ice feed from Tomas Plekanec and wristed the puck into the net for his 31st goal.

"The Islanders coming in the building had nothing to lose - they just gambled on every situation, trying to get the goals," Kovalev said. "We still had to play good defensive hockey and take care of our own end. We just have to keep on going. There aren't that many games left, and we have to prime ourselves more for the big games."

Latendresse capped the scoring with 2:12 remaining, putting a wrister past DiPietro for his 16th of the campaign.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 0 0 0 0
    MONTREAL 0 1 2 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) ROMAN HAMRLIK 5 (CHRIS HIGGINS, MARK STREIT) 7:04
    3RD PRD: MON - ALEXEI KOVALEV 31 (TOMAS PLEKANEC, ANDREI KOSTITSYN)
    5:54
    MON - GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE 16 (SAKU KOIVU, MICHAEL RYDER)
    17:48
    PO

    Mar 15 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 0
    MONTREAL 3
    3RD PRD: MON - GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE 16 (SAKU KOIVU, MICHAEL RYDER)
    17:48

    Islanders 0, Canadiens 3  3rd - 2:12Mar 15 9:23 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 0
    MONTREAL 2
    3RD PRD: MON - ALEXEI KOVALEV 31 (TOMAS PLEKANEC, ANDREI KOSTITSYN)
    5:54

    Islanders 0, Canadiens 2  3rd - 14:06Mar 15 9:00 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 0 0 0
    MONTREAL 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) ROMAN HAMRLIK 5 (CHRIS HIGGINS, MARK STREIT) 7:04
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYI 10 7 17
    MON 8 14 22
    GOALIES: NYI

    Mar 15 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 0
    MONTREAL 1
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) ROMAN HAMRLIK 5 (CHRIS HIGGINS, MARK STREIT) 7:04

    Islanders 0, Canadiens 1  2nd - 12:56Mar 15 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 0 0
    MONTREAL 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYI 10 10
    MON 8 8
    GOALIES: NYI - RICK DIPIETRO
    MON - JAROSLAV HALAK

    Mar 15 7:44 PM
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