Well, that was terrible.
The New York Islanders came out slow to start the game in Patrick Roy’s return to Montreal, going down 3-0 in the first period. They were able to make up for it and come back off of several different power play situations, with Bo Horvat, Mat Barzal, and Kyle Palmieri picking up a goal each. But a terrible turnover from Pierre Engvall just over a minute after Palmieri’s tying goal would give the Montreal Canadiens the win in regulation.
It’s a blown point in a game where the Islanders dominated the scoring chances, and there’s even more to be concerned about, as Adam Pelech left the game looking dazed after taking an elbow from Brendan Gallagher, who should be expecting a call from the Department of Player Safety tomorrow.
Just a frustrating night all around.
Sam Montembeault started the game with some great saves on Mat Barzal and Anders Lee. Hudson Fasching took a delay of game penalty for putting the puck over the glass.
Semyon Varlamov made a good save on Cole Caufield, but Nick Suzuki would score on the power play off a nice passing play to make it 1-0 Montreal.
Rafael Harvey-Pinard was called for hooking Bo Horvat, but the sloppy power play near-immediately gave up a shorthanded 3 on 1, turned that around before Barzal lost the puck, leading to a shorthanded 2 on 1 which caused Kyle Palmieri to take a slashing penalty to stop a great opportunity for the Habs.
On the four on four, Cole Caufield made it 2-0 off a turnover from a pass from Pierre Engvall to Sebastian Aho, and on the ensuing power play, Sean Monahan made it 3-0.
The Islanders got a power play with about 5 minutes left in the period when Arber Xhekaj was called for high sticking, but the Habs killed that penalty and got one of their own a couple of minutes later when Julien Gauthier was called for tripping.
At the end of the period, there was a scuffle between Alexander Romanov and Juraj Slafkovsky, but no penalties were assessed.
The Islanders put the puck past Montembeault, but after the whistle had blown, so it wouldn’t count.
Then, they drew two penalties within 40 seconds of each other - Jayden Struble for slashing and Jake Evans for holding, and on the 5 on 3, Barzal passed it off to Horvat who made it 3-1.
Horvat on the power play pulls us within 2. pic.twitter.com/lJQRojPPTH— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 26, 2024
Montreal was able to kill the rest of the penalty, though.
On a breakaway, Fasching was held up on a breakaway, no penalties there. Shortly after, though, he’d head to the locker room with an injury and wouldn’t return for the rest of the game.
Kyle MacLean was called for tripping, giving the Habs another PP, but the Islanders killed that.
Then, the Islanders would get a man advantage when Xhekaj was called for interference. This was a solid power play from the Islanders, even though Montreal killed it, and David Savard saved a goal by blocking Bo Horvat’s shot at an essentially empty net.
Lee was called for interference, but the Islanders killed.
Brendan Gallagher stuck his elbow out and hit Adam Pelech in the head while coming across the ice. He was called for a 5 minute major initially, and it was raised to a match penalty for an illegal check to the head.
It was a bit of a rough start to the five minute major, but Mat Barzal scored with 2:01 left on it to make it 3-2.
With 25 seconds left on the powerplay, Palmieri got the puck, put it off Montembeault’s pad, and then picked up his rebound to tie the game at 3-3.
Power play goal for New York!— NHL Goals (@nhl_goal_bot) January 26, 2024
Scored by Kyle Palmieri with 03:32 remaining in the 3rd period.
Assisted by Noah Dobson and Bo Horvat.
New York: 3#NYIvsMTL #GoHabsGo #Isles pic.twitter.com/vZpEFRSsMr
And a little over a minute later, the hype from the comeback was entirely deflated, when Engvall gave the puck away and Sean Monahan scored his second of the game to make it 4-3 Montreal. Just completely unacceptable stuff from Engvall, his second critically bad giveaway of the game.
Bo Horvat hit the post in the dying seconds of the game, but the Islanders wouldn’t find a second tying goal, and lost the game in regulation.
Next, the Islanders head back to UBS Arena to take on one of the best teams in the league, the Florida Panthers, on Saturday, January 27.