Andrei Kostitsyn is responsible for the Canadiens’ 5-3 win over the visiting New York Islanders.
Not because Kostitsyn played a fine and dangerous game, which he did. He’s responsible because he dashed off the ice with just over six minutes remaining and Petteri Nokelainen jumped on.
But first, what led up to the Nokes (which is probably his nickname) heroics.
The Canadiens had fallen behind 1-0 to the Islanders when PK Subban, in a temporary brain-freeze, put a perfect pass on the stick of the enemy who hopefully said thank you as the puck found its way behind Carey Price. But Kostitsyn evened it by retrieving his banked shot off the boards to fool N.Y. goaltender Al Montoya. If only Kostitsyn could play like this every night.
Al Montoya sounds like he should be a lounge singer, a crooner at the Copacabana, but I’m getting off track here.
Late in the first, Mathieu Darche bounced one over Al Martini, er, Montoya, and the Canadiens went to their dressing room with a slim 2-1 lead.
The second period saw no scoring, but I jotted down, so I wouldn’t forget, that the power play is definitely looking sharper and smarter. The puck is being moved around with more precision, even though the boys went just 1 for 5, which isn’t great but I see signs. Maybe Tomas Kaberle showed them a few basic plays that the coaching staff forgot about.
The Habs’ one power play marker, which made the score 3-1 at this point, came at the hands of Erik Cole, another who played a very strong game. Compare Cole to Mike Cammalleri. Cammy has become just another face in the crowd. It’s very disappointing. Cole, on most nights, is a standout, a real threat.
Of course as expected, the other team made a late-game charge. We’re almost used to it. It’s like it’s part of the natural flow to any Habs game. The Islanders scored once, then twice, and the game was tied, but that’s when Andrei Kostitsyn made his way to the bench, thus providing the Nokelainen story, a blast from inside the blueline that was the game winner.
But I’m saving the best for last.
Hal Gill’s big goal. Here’s how it happened. Gill circled behind his net, grabbed the puck, and picked up a head of stream as he streaked down the ice. Around one he danced, then another. A give-and-go with David Desharnais, and back to the big fellow where he deked a third forward, then, in a last gasp, split the defence and put it top shelf for the insurance marker before he crashed into the boards.
Actually he rolled it 200 feet into an empty net but what’s the difference?
Islanders outshot Montreal 32-29.
As far as I could see, Chris Campoli in his return tonight did his job without being fancy. He’s no Hal Gill, that’s for sure.
Thursday it’s the Flyers in town. I’m hoping Alexei Emelin suits up for this game. Schmuck a few of those ^%#$%.