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Isles win SO after wacky Habs own goal

Quick reactions here ... Wow, this is something you don't see every season. It wasn't Steve Smith in the '86 playoffs, but poor young Canadiens D-man Ryan O'Byrne tied the game late in the third tonight by passing the puck -- into his own empty net.

The Canadiens were up 3-2 at the time, and a dubious delayed penalty had been called on Sean Bergenheim. As Doug Weight pressured O'Byrne going back to get the puck along the half boards in his own zone, O'Byrne knee-jerk passed it toward his own net ... which Canadiens 'keeper Carey Price had already vacated. The facial expressions on fans' faces afterward were priceless, as O'Byrne glided behind the net in agony after the goal.

Hilariously, Bergenheim -- who also got the penalty, mind you -- was credited with the goal [EDIT 11 p.m.: Now the boxscore says the goal is Bill Guerin's], even though it was more due to Weight's pressure. That tied it, 3-3, sending it to OT, and of course the Isles then won the bonus point in the shootout. Despite the close shot total, the Habs dominated long stretches of this game, putting together great passes and hitting a few posts.

The worst, seediest part? After the shootout ended on Bill Guerin's game-winning conversion, the fans mock serenaded "Oooo-'Byrne" to the poor young own-goal goat, who never saw the ice again after the own goal. Apparently Habs fans have already been on him lately. This cannot help. But after the goal, the Canadiens still failed to convert two more powerplay chances to get the winner.

For the first time in quite a while, the Islanders got all the bounces to win a game they really didn't deserve. Multiple times the Islanders iced it in situations where their guys could not afford the energy to stay on the ice. But they survived each time -- once with Josh Bailey having a brilliant faceoff win out of the zone to allow the line change.

In addition to the Canadiens hitting a few posts and committing the own goal, the Isles got a good-karma goal by Trent Hunter they just haven't gotten lately.

On the play, Young Josh Bailey hit the post on a shot from the high circle. Trent Hunter, manning the office in front of the goal, coralled the rebound and ... hit the post also. Fortunately, as the puck bounced off the post, Price reached for it and knocked it over the line with his trapper.

The Isles deserved some luck after clanging the iron twice on the same sequence, but that's just the kind of play that recently ends up as a smothered near-miss rather than a goal for the Islanders.

Anyway, it's all gravy considering the lucky circumstance that tied the game. And I'll take it.

Atlantic Standings

New York Rangers 24 15 7 2 32
Pittsburgh 20 12 5 3 27
New Jersey 20 11 7 2 24
Philadelphia 20 10 6 4 24
New York Islanders 21 9 10 2 20

(updated 11.25.2008 at 9:19 AM EST)