Sometimes you can’t script even the best drama, and if tonight is any indication, Beau knows drama.
Anthony Beauvillier, who grew up an hour away from the Bell Centre in Montreal, scored the game winner, his first ever, as the Islanders shut out the Canadiens 3-0.
It was the first time since April of 2014 that the Isles came to Montreal and shutout the Habs.
Beauvillier scored just under 5:30 into the first, and that would stand up as the game winner. Anders Lee would add a goal in the second, and John Tavares would add a late third empty netter, as the Isles win their second straight on the road and third in a row overall.
Thomas Greiss was spectacular as always making 24 saves for this third shutout of the season.
The Islanders first line continues to shine. For all the complaints about John Tavares not having a winger, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey have been superb this season. Lee had a goal, Tavares had a goal, and Bailey added his 30th and 31st assists.
The Isles are now two points clear of Florida and Boston in the race for the second wildcard. Boston plays later this evening. In a cruel twist of fate, Islanders’ fans found themselves rooting for the Rangers to beat the Leafs tonight. The Atlantic Division race for third (and even second) is a tight one between Ottawa, Toronto, Florida, and Boston. If Montreal keeps playing the way they have, first is also up for grabs. It’s entirely possible that the Bruins, Panthers, and Leafs make the playoffs and Ottawa and Montreal do not. With all of those teams candidates to compete with the Isles’ for the second Wild Card spot, every loss helps. The Islanders’ did receive a gift from their cross-town rivals tonight, as the Rangers won 2-1 in a shootout. Depending on the outcome of the Bruins game later, the Islanders will have just as many ROW as everyone outside of the Canadiens. All the Isles would have to do if they had to battle Montreal for the spot, would be to tie them in ROW. By virtue of tonight’s win the Isles won the season series.
Tonight’s game really turned for the Islanders when just before mid-way into the third period, the Canadiens had not one, but two goals called off in a 54 second period. The first goal was called off due to a stick above the crossbar, on a Shea Weber slap shot which was deflected. The high stick call was confirmed by replay. The second goal was knocked in with a glove, and was immediately called off, much to the chagrin of the Habs’ faithful. After that, the Canadiens did not put much of a fight, and the Isles were able to skate away easily with the 3-0 victory.
Next, the Islanders travel to Columbus to take on a very good Blue Jackets team. That game will be Saturday at 5 PM.