Canadiens cool off Islanders' winning streak; Isles lose 6-4

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

MONTREAL -- Tomas Plekanec scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-4 victory over the previously streaking New York Islanders on Saturday night.

Metropolitan Division-leading New York had won four straight. Tampa Bay jumped over the Islanders for first place in the Eastern Conference by beating Colorado on Saturday.

P.K. Subban, Dale Weise, Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais also scored for Montreal (28-13-3), and Dustin Tokarski made 27 saves.

Kyle Okposo, Nikolay Kulemin, Anders Lee and John Tavares had goals for the Islanders (30-14-1). Former Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak, playing for the second straight night, stopped 27 shots.

Okposo has five goals in two games, including his four-goal outburst in a home win over Pittsburgh on Friday.

After Montreal's sixth goal, Halak was replaced by Chad Johnson, who faced just two shots.

Plekanec put Montreal ahead 3-1 with five minutes remaining in the second period, and he added his second goal midway through the third to make it 6-2. Plekanec assisted on the Canadiens' first two goals.

Montreal has won five of six against the Islanders.

Tokarski was in net for Carey Price, who sustained an upper-body injury in Montreal's victory over the Blue Jackets on Wednesday in Columbus.

Coach Michel Therrien said Price's injury, sustained when forward Matt Calvert crashed into him, isn't serious. However, there is no timetable for his return.

The Canadiens recalled goalie Joey MacDonald from Hamilton of the AHL on Friday.

The Islanders gave Halak back-to-back starts on consecutive nights for the second time this season. Halak made 21 saves in New York's 6-3 win over the Penguins on Friday.

Halak was 4-0 in four starts against his former club, allowing only four total goals.

But it was a struggle for Halak this time as the Islanders got into early penalty trouble early for the second straight game. The Islanders rank 27th in the NHL, and that showed just two minutes in.

With Ryan Strome in the box for tripping, Subban put Montreal in front at 1:56 on the team's second shot.

The Canadiens' struggling power play looked convincing on its first opportunity. Andrei Markov faked a slap shot from the point before feeding Subban, whose one-timer sailed past Halak.

After the teams traded goals, including Okposo's tally, Montreal added its second on the power play to go up 3-1. Just six seconds after defenseman Thomas Hickey took a tripping penalty, Plekanec won the faceoff and fired in his 12th goal.

Montreal finished 2-for-4 with the man advantage.

Weise's second-period goal - a tap-in scored 10 seconds into the frame - tied his career high in points (16) set last season.

The Canadiens scored early into all three periods, as they needed just 52 seconds into the third to go up 4-2.

After Desharnais and Plekanec made it 6-2 for Montreal, the Islanders scored two goals in less than three minutes.

Montreal had scored just seven goals in its previous four games.

NOTES: After arriving late in Montreal after Friday's win, the Islanders canceled their Saturday morning skate. ... The Canadiens will play nine of their next 11 at home. ... The Islanders are tied for the NHL lead with 30 wins (Nashville). ... Montreal's Max Pacioretty's six-game goal streak was snapped. ... The Islanders were outshot for the first time in 16 games.