UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Scott Gomez’s lengthy goal drought is finally over.
The much maligned Montreal forward scored a power-play goal Thursday in the Canadiens’ game against the New York Islanders, ending a goalless skid that lasted over a year.
Gomez tipped in a Raphael Diaz point shot to put the Canadiens up 3-0. The goal ended up being the game-winner as the Habs won 4-2.
Gomez has been the brunt of plenty of criticism, the combination of a hefty contract and low offensive production.
“I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself, I’ve just kept working,” said the 32-year-old Gomez, acquired by Montreal with his sizable contract in an oft-criticized trade with the New York Rangers in June 2009. “It’s certainly good to get a win, and of course it’s great to finally score.”
Gomez had seven assists in 24 games this season before Thursday, and seven goals in 80 games last season. He is in the fifth year of a seven-year, US$51.5 million contract he signed with the Rangers in 2007.
“It was a big goal for us, proved to be the game-winner,” Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth said. “We worked hard and the effort paid off. We have to get it going and keep it going.”
A tongue-in-cheek fan website asking “Did Scott Gomez score last night?” was created to track whether or not Gomez had ended is goalless streak. It was updated immediately with a definitive “YES!” after Gomez scored his long-awaited goal.
When Montreal played the Jets at Bell Centre on the one-year anniversary of his last goal on Sunday, fans sang “Bonne fete” to the forward throughout the game.
It actually appeared that Gomez had ended the drought in that game, but his apparent goal was instead credited to Tomas Plekanec.
Prior to Thursday’s game, Gomez hadn’t scored since beating Martin Biron of the New York Rangers on Feb. 5, 2011.
—With files from The Associated Press.