MONTREAL (AP) — Josh Bailey scored the shootout winner to lead the New York Islanders to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
Mark Streit and Frans Nielsen scored in regulation for the Islanders, who snapped a five-game losing streak. Al Montoya stopped 28 shots.
Aaron Palushaj scored his first NHL goal and Louis Leblanc added another one for Montreal. Peter Budaj made 36 saves.
It was a tense shootout that needed six rounds to decide the winner. Nielsen and Montreal’s David Desharnais in the first round, then the Canadiens’ Rene Bourque and the Islanders’ Matt Moulson put the puck in the net in the fourth round.
Bailey put the game away when he cut in front of the crease, waited out Budaj and then fired the puck past him.
Palushaj opened the scoring at 2:53 of the first period. He took a feed from Petteri Nokelainen and backhanded a shot from the goal line past Montoya for his first goal in 32 NHL games.
Budaj kept the Islanders at bay for the rest of the period and early in the second with key saves on Bailey and Moulson from in close.
Streit got the Islanders on the board early on the power play at 2:00 of the second. The former Canadiens defenseman picked up Montreal’s clearing attempt from behind his own net and skated down the ice before going five-hole on Budaj.
Nielsen put the New York ahead 2-1 late in the period. With Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov caught pinching, Nielsen broke out on a 2-on-1 before sniping one over Budaj’s left shoulder at 16:05.
Leblanc nearly got the tying goal late in the second when Montoya came well out of his crease to play the puck. The Canadiens rookie had a shot from the left of the net but was denied by Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who went down for the block.
He prevailed on his second chance at 3:38 of the third when P.K. Subban set him up with a perfect pass in the slot. Leblanc lifted a backhander into the net from the slot for his fourth of the season.
Notes: Andrei Markov returned to the Canadiens’ lineup after missing Friday’s game with an upper-body injury. … Upper-body injuries kept D Tomas Kaberle and C Scott Gomez out of the lineup for a second and third straight night, respectively. F Blake Geoffrion and D Frederic St-Denis were healthy scratches. … The Islanders scratched veterans Steve Staios and Jay Pandolfo. … Palushaj’s goal was the first by a Canadiens player wearing No. 60 since goaltender Jose Theodore scored into an empty net on Jan. 2, 2001.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)