Gomez The Miracle Man as Habs Defeat Islanders
By Gary Harding
I kept seeing comments on twitter saying that Scott Gomez had gone a year without a goal, and tonight was the night that he was going to get it done.
Man – if they could pick lottery numbers that way – they would be millionaires.
A power play goal scored by the man who reduced his dollars/goal ratio from infinity to $7.3 million, turned out to be the difference, as the Canadiens beat the Islanders 4-2 in front a crowd of just over 12,000 people at the Coliseum tonight.
Although the game was only a one goal difference, the play did not feel that way. The Islanders did not score until the last 3 minutes of the game on a power play marker by Matt Moulson (his team leading 24th). Mark Streit slapped on by Carey Price a minute later to bring the game down to a one goal deficit. Max Pacioretty would get his first NHL hat trick by adding an empty-netter with one tenth of a second remaining to close the scoring.
Isles goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who was absolutely brilliant in Tuesday night’s victory over the Flyers gave up a goal to Pacioretty on the Habs first shot of the game. This marked the tenth time this season, that the Islanders allowed a goal on the game’s first shot. This has to be approaching a record for first shot futility.
“We gave up a goal on the first shot again,” PA Parenteau said to the media following the game. “That means we weren’t ready.”
Ready they were not.
In the second period, Pacioretty would get his second goal of the game, as he accepted a nice pass from David Desharnais and whacked it home. Throughout the period, there was just a lack of intensity from the Islanders side of the ledger. There were some moments of brilliance (a lot coming from the stick of John Tavares; but could not make any production from it), but nothing but shots on goal registering on the home team’s side of the scoreboard.
Then, the miracle happened. With Tavares out serving a penalty, Gomez got a one timer going from the short side, and got it past Nabokov for his first goal in 54 games, which was one year, and four days ago, against the New York Rangers. As soon as the goal was scored, Gomez was trending on Facebook, with most of the tweets coming from totally shocked Habs fans.
Moulson would get a goal on a great hand eye coordination shot that was just under his shoulder when he whacked it past Price to stop the Islander shutout streak. Tavares got an assist on the play which was his 100th in the NHL. PA Parenteau also assisted on the play increasing his team leading total to 37.
Mark Streit would get the slapper by Price just as Nabokov would come off the ice for an extra skater to get the deficit down to a single goal. The Isles had opportunities in the waning seconds, especially on a great shot by Parenteau that just missed the net, but the Habs would skate out of their zone as the time closed out, with Pacioretty getting the hat trick as the buzzer sounded.
“Coming back at the end to score two goals is good,” Streit said to the attending media following the game. “But at the end of the day it’s the win that counts. They [Habs] were vulnerable and we didn’t take advantage of that.”
Again – I lodge my complaint that Nino Niederreiter should be getting more playing time than the 7 + minutes that he is getting. I feel that we need to see his talent be more prevalent and involved in the play. Aaron Ness played just over 14 minutes and played a simple consistent game.
Interesting to see that Kyle Okposo was taken off the first line by Coach Jack Capuano in the third period. Okposo was invisible, as was Michael Grabner. These guys are key to the success of the team, and at times looked as lost a guppy in a mile-wide pond.
Missing their opportunity to get one game over NHL 500, the Islanders now have the task to get back to even on Saturday afternoon, when they face the Los Angeles Kings. On that night – Kenny Jonsson will be inducted into the Islanders Hall of Fame. The next afternoon, the Florida Panthers come into town for a matinee. This will be a chance for the Islanders to get back to the winning ways.
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