Where Chris Higgins failed to continue his success against his hometown team, Plekanec filled in in fine form.
Tomas Plekanec got it done for the Habs tonight, registering his 39th and 40th points of the season with goals, opening the scoring at even strength and then adding to it with a shorthanded tally as the Habs cruised to a 3-1 victory over the Islanders on Long Island.
Plaky's first goal came shortly passed midway through the 1st period, when Isles forward Andy Hilbert failed to collect an outlet pass from Bruno Gervais. Plekanec picked up the loose puck, faked-and-then-released a slapshot to beat DiPietro glove-high. Plekanec then added his 16th of the year, shorthanded. After Huet robbed Miroslav Satan on the doorstep, Kovalev beat Mike Comrie to the loose puck, eliminated Comrie with a bodycheck, and flipped the puck forward, managing to get it passed Chris Campoli to create a 2-on-1 for Plekanec with Markov. Plaky held and released a wrister, beating DiPietro low-glove this time around to notch his 40th point of the season, 7 shy of his career high of 47 posted just last season.
The Isles heated up midway through the second, generating a solid 5 minutes of attacking hockey. The save of the game occured in this span, as Mike Comrie picked up a loose puck at the Habs' blue line, and, due to a poorly timed line-change, Mike had himself a clean-cut breakaway. Streaking in from the right wing, Comrie cut inside and through the crease in an attempt to go wide on Huet, but Cristobal read the play perfectly and followed through with Comrie, eventually stopping the shot with his right pad.
But the Isles would not be shut-out on this night. Midway through the 3rd, Cristobal Huet played a dump-in from behind his net which was then intercepted along the boards by captain Bill Guerin. Guerin wasted little to no time at all getting that puck on goal, forcing Huet to get down to try and freeze it. Unfortunately, the puck was jarred loose, and a crease-crashing Richard Park was able to chop at it and get it to float in. The Habs were able to hold off all remaining attacks, and with under a minute left and goaltender Rick DiPietro on the bench in favor of an extra attacker, Chris Campoli turned the puck over to Alex Kovalev in Montreal's zone. Kovalev had a streaking Plekanec up ice, near New York's blueline, waiting for a pass to earn the chance to pot the empty-netter for the hat-trick, but Kovalev decided he would take the puck zone-to-zone, and he easily skated around a desperately-diving Campoli to bury his 20th of the season.
Huet had 17 saves in the win. The Habs outshot the Islanders 21-18 in a low-shooting, low-scoring affair. Montreal went 0-for-2 on the PP, but did have the short-handed Plekanec marker.
The Canadiens improve to 2-1 on this 4 game road-swing, with the final stop coming Thursday in Atlanta.
The Thrashers cashed in on a Marian Hossa hat-trick tonight to land a rare & decisive 5-1 win in Detroit.