Wisniewski, Tavares Continue Hot Starts, But N.Y. Falls 5-3

MONTREAL (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens are on a roll and beginning to spread out the offensive contributions beyond one line.

Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern each had a goal and an assist and Montreal extended its winning streak to three with a 5-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.

Carey Price, who has started each of the Canadiens’ games, stopped 18 shots to improve to 6-2-1.

“It’s really enjoyable to see the team come together like this,” Halpern said. “We’re starting to create and Pleky’s line is leading the charge.”

Mathieu Darche opened the scoring 13:19 in and Travis Moen made it 2-0 with a short-handed goal at 17:54 to give Montreal its first of four two-goal leads.

Andrei Kostitsyn scored into an empty net with 1:02 remaining.

James Wisniewski had three points for New York, including his second assist of the game on Doug Weight’s goal 12:56 into the third that drew the Islanders within one for the third time in the game.

John Tavares scored New York’s second power-play goal early in the third and Dwayne Roloson made 30 saves.

The Islanders have lost two in a row following a three-game winning streak.

“We just weren’t very sharp and they were able to generate a lot of offense over our own mistakes,” Islanders coach Scott Gordon said.

Moen was given a boarding minor for his hit from behind which sent Wisniewski crashing head first into the boards 8:43 into the second.

“I really didn’t think I hit him that hard,” Moen said.

Wisniewski, who said he wasn’t hurt on the play, was upset about the hit.

“That kind of stuff, you paralyze guys. There’s no room in hockey for that,” Wisniewski said. “I know him pretty well. I played with (Moen) and he said sorry later on, but really there’s no excuse for that. I’m in a defenseless position and you take advantage of it 4 feet from the boards.

“A minor penalty? They talk about head hits, I mean, you get a concussion so you’re out three weeks — you’re paralyzed the rest of your life. So that’s just the kind of stuff that boggles my mind that they don’t crack down on stuff like that.”

New York’s Zenon Konopka fought with Moen when the two crossed paths immediately after the Canadiens forward stepped out of the penalty box.

“He was just sticking up for a teammate,” Moen said.

Moen, Konopka and Islanders rookie Nino Niederreiter were involved in trash talk between the two teams during the pregame warmup.

Michael Cammalleri sat out Montreal’s season opener while serving a one-game suspension for his slash on Niederreiter during a preseason game in Quebec City.

“I wasn’t at that game but that’s kind of a vicious thing to do,” Wisniewski said.

Niederreiter, chosen fifth overall in the June draft, has one goal and one assist in nine games. The Islanders now have to decide whether to keep him or return him to his junior team for the rest of the season.

“The game had nothing to do with our decision on Nino,” Gordon said. “We haven’t made it yet and he wasn’t going to make or not make our team based on this game.”

Halpern assisted on Darche’s goal 13:19 in and gave Montreal its third two-goal lead at 4-2 with his third goal of the season 6:56 into the third.

Plekanec set up Moen’s short-handed goal later in the first that put the Canadiens up 2-0. He slapped a shot from the slot into the top left corner for his fourth goal 7:33 into the second.

Wisniewski also pulled the Islanders within one at 2-1 when he scored with the man advantage late in the first.

Tavares tipped Wisniewski’s point shot past Price on a power play 13 seconds into the third to draw New York to 3-2.

Roloson stopped Pouliot on a penalty shot at 7:11 of the third to exact a measure of revenge on the Montreal left wing. The goalie was upset after Pouliot went crashing into him when he was hooked down by Radek Martinek on a breakaway.

NOTES: Islanders LW Matt Martin, recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL on Monday, made his season debut. He had two assists in five games last season. … Price had an assist on Halpern’s goal. … D Ryan O’Byrne and LW Dustin Boyd weren’t in uniform for Montreal.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)