Okposo helps Islanders jolt Canadiens

MONTREAL (Ticker) — Kyle Okposo took advantage of an extended
opportunity to stretch his goals streak to four games.

Okposo’s goal 26 seconds into overtime gave the New York
Islanders a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday

The rookie got his 16th goal when he outmaneuvered defenseman
Mathieu Schneider to recover a loose puck before slipping a shot
under All-Star Carey Price’s pads from the right edge of the

“The puck just kind of hit my foot, and I couldn’t find it
forever,” Okposo said. “Schneider and I were battling and I
finally kicked it up to my stick and just tried to get it on
net. I don’t even know how it went in.”

Former Canadiens goalie Yann Danis made 24 saves as the
Islanders, who have the fewest points in the NHL, improved to
2-1-0 against Montreal this season. New York is 5-1-2 in its
last eight.

“I spoke to him last week and asked him if he wanted to play
against Montreal and his eyes lit up,” Islanders coach Scott
Gordon said. “It was obviously a great feeling for him to come
back here, and he did a great job in the first, especially the
first half of the period. Montreal came out hard and set the
tempo early and we weathered the storm, and a lot of it was
because of the play of Yann.”

Danis, who debuted with Montreal in 2005-06, was delighted to
get an opportunity to face his former team again in the wake of
a 5-4 home loss to the Canadiens on November 1. He allowed four
straight goals after being staked to a 4-1 lead.

“I was really looking forward to this game to bounce back, and
to have it here is something special,” Danis said. “I can’t
thank enough the guys. I think they showed up tonight and they
played a really hard game.”

Frans Nielsen’s power-play goal early in the third gave New York
a 2-1 lead after rookie Mike Iggulden tied the game at 1-1 with
his first NHL tally midway through the first.

Tom Kostopoulos drew Montreal even at 2-2 midway through the
third. Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring with his 19th goal on
a power play 5:04 in.

Price stopped 36 shots, including a spectacular glove save on
Jeff Tambellini’s shot with 55 seconds remaining in regulation
to help Montreal secure a point.

“It’s a huge point for us to lose,” Kostopoulos said. “I mean,
if it wasn’t for our goalie, we would have lost two points.
We’ve got to change our second period, something’s going on
there, we’ve got to get more emotion and better forechecking.
In the second, we seemed to sit back.”

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The Canadiens are 1-0-1 in two games since general manager Bob
Gainey took over as coach after firing Guy Carbonneau.

“I think they get out of sync with the play on the ice and we
get trapped in our zone with tired players more than we can
afford to,” Gainey said. “Tired players do not respond or react
to whatever situation is there.

“We sometimes give off the impression that we look like we are a
deer trapped in the headlights because the players have more
instinct than that, but whether it’s tightness, the other team
is taking advantage of our hesitation and our lack of
assertiveness and confidence to play simple plays.”

Nielsen put the Islanders up 2-1 when he deflected All-Star
defenseman Mark Streit’s point shot past Price for a power-play
goal 51 seconds into the third.

Montreal was shorthanded after rookie Gregory Stewart had an
unsportsmanlike conduct minor added to his fighting major for
his bout with Tim Jackman 7 seconds into the period.

Kostopoulos directed All-Star defenseman Andrei Markov’s
centering pass into an open right side at 9:14 for his eighth

Plekanec opened the scoring 5:04 in with a power-play goal
moments after he had one disallowed on an earlier advantage. He
circled back and beat Danis with a wrist shot from the right
circle for his 19th goal.

Montreal missed an opportunity to take a two-goal lead while
killing a penalty moments later when Danis stopped Chris Higgins
on a shorthanded breakaway.

Iggulden tied it at 11:33. Iggulden, who had four assists in
his first three games after he was recalled from Bridgeport of
the AHL on Saturday, took Blake Comeau’s centering pass from
behind the net and put a shot past Price.

“It’s great,” Iggulden said. “I’ve worked really hard down in
the AHL for about four years and to finally get an opportunity
to play in the NHL, it’s just been amazing. I’m just trying to
work as hard as I can and hopefully make a good impression on my
coach, my teammates and the organization.”

Referee Don Koharski immediately waved off Plekanec’s goal 1:46
in. A video review backed up Koharski’s ruling that Plekanec’s
stick made contact above the crossbar when he batted a rebound
of Markov’s shot.