|Galchenyuk kisses the logo after scoring the final goal|
Sitting in 5th place in the Atlantic division at this point in the season is a hard task. One of the more competitive divisions in the league could easily boast 5 playoff bound teams, 2 wildcard spots up for grabs, should the season remains as is. Every point earned now will make a difference in the back end of the season during the playoff race.
Like the last game against the Sens the Canadiens had the upper hand in the first. They controlled the game and set the pace early on. A few scoring chances highlighted the first period for the Canadiens but weren't golden opportunities that posed much of a threat to back-up Kevin Poulin.
There seemed to be an extra jump in the step of the kids line, for a few games now they had been on the decline and while they weren't a detriment they definitely were not playing at the same level they did earlier in the season.
The Canadiens were the first to go to the box and killed off the man-advantage for the Isles who established some solid possession but only generated shots from the perimeter. The Habs received a power-play soon after and it was at this point they had their best scoring chance of the period, a wrap around by Galchenyuk never made its way to the back of the net.
The period finished nodded at nil-nil, the Habs had the better showing and to avoid a breakdown like the Ottawa game, needed to score and forbid the Isles from gaining any sort momentum.
The Canadiens wasted no time coming out of the intermission to put a goal on the board. The Canadiens would score three in the second and from there didn't give the Isles any opportunity to mount a comeback.
Brendan Gallagher got sprung on by a feed from Galchenyuk that he needed to kick to himself to set up a wrist shot that beat Poulin blocker side. It was the 10th time this season the Habs scored the first goal of the game.
Price came up big on a save against Matt Martin a few minutes following the goal and kept the lead alive, but not for long.
The Islanders did tie the game on the power-play. After Tomas Plekanec went to the box for a face-off violation, they killed it off but immediately shot themselves in the foot and took another penalty for a hold by Bouillon. Pierre Marc Bouchard scored his first goal against the Canadiens with a shot from the point that beat Price glove-side.
The teams exchanged chances until the Isles took a series of penalties that allowed the Habs to score a pair of goals to end the second. The last ranked team on the penalty-kill, the Isles, should of been wiser knowing they were facing one of the leagues stronger power-play teams in the Habs.
The first goal on the power-play was scored by Eller who released a one timer from a cross slot pass by Galchenyuk that Poulin had no chance saving.
The second power-play goal was a tip in by Bournival, his fifth of the year deflected a point shot by Diaz to beat the Isles goalie top corner.
Despite allowing a power-play goal in the third period to Brock Nelson, who was left alone in front of Price to slam the puck by and cut the two goal lead the Canadiens managed to play a very safe game with the lead. Price, who didn't seem phased to be dealing with the added pressure of a one goal lead, saved 24 of 26 shots in the game.
The Canadiens eventually sealed the deal when Galchenyuk finished off a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal. His third point of the night, along with Eller's third and Gallagher's second topped off a heroic outing for the young trio that desperately needed to be reignited.
Despite the recent acquisition of Thomas Vanek, the Islanders are not as successful as many would have thought. The high cost to acquire such a renowned sniper has not generated any kind of significant return as they fall to 2 wins and 5 losses since the trade.
The Canadiens hold onto the 5th place in the Atlantic. The next matchup is against the shocking Lightning who sit on top of the division. Playing at home for the Canadiens is a significant advantage, they will need to rely on of the loudest crowds in the league to rattle the cage for the Bolts. All 4 lines will need to roll on all cylinders. Price and his defencemen will be tested by the leagues top scorer Steven Stamkos and his set-up man Martin St-Louis. Expect the Tuesday night affair to be a big one for both clubs.