NHL Game Summary - Montreal at NY Islanders
(Wednesday, March 31st)
Final Score: NY Islanders 5, Montreal 1
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - Roman Hamrlik and Mark Parrish each posted two goals and an assist, leading the New York Islanders to a 5-1 rout of the Montreal Canadiens at Nassau Coliseum.
Adrian Aucoin also scored for the Islanders, who snapped a two-game losing streak and moved within two points of clinching a playoff spot for the third straight year. New York sits eighth in the Eastern Conference with 88 points, three ahead of Buffalo and three behind seventh-place Montreal.
Rick DiPietro made 20 saves in the victory. New York will close its season with a road game Friday at Carolina and a home game Sunday against Philadelphia.
"Every game the last few weeks has been like a playoff game," said DiPietro. Buffalo continues to win and put pressure on us. We have two games left to clinch a playoff spot."
Jason Ward scored the lone goal for the Canadiens, who have already clinched a spot in the post-season despite four straight losses (0-3-0-1). Montreal will conclude its season with home games against Philadelphia on Thursday and Buffalo on Saturday.
Jose Theodore started in net for the Canadiens, but was pulled after allowing five goals on just 15 shots through two periods. Mathieu Garon stopped all eight shots he faced in the third.
The Islanders scored twice in a span of just 43 seconds early in the first period to take control.
Hamrlik cashed in a power play at the 4:06 mark, scoring his first of the game on a shot from the right circle off a perfect backhand feed from Oleg Kvasha. Aucoin then netted his 10th on the next shift, firing a wrister home from the slot off a pass from Parrish.
"We knew they were going to come out hard," said Montreal's Sheldon Souray. "What we thought was going to happen, happened. But it's tough to come back from two goals down in this league."
Parrish then scored twice as part of a three-goal Islander barrage in a span of 3:23 late in the second.
With 3:59 left in the period, Parrish scored his first of the game on a 2-on-1 rush with Michael Peca. Peca carried the puck into the Montreal zone along the right wing and fed a pass from the circle to the left circle for Parrish's one-timer.
Hamrlik then scored his second of the game and sixth of the season with 1:09 to play in the period. Trent Hunter made a pass from behind the Montreal net into the slot for Hamrlik, who snapped a high shot past Theodore.
Parrish added an unassisted goal with just 36 seconds remaining in the period, as he picked off a Montreal clearing attempt along the right boards, skated into the right circle and ripped a shot home for his 24th goal.
"It was our goal to come out hard and take it to them for 60 minutes," Parrish said.
Ward spoiled DiPietro's shutout bid at 8:24 of the third, scoring his fifth goal of the season.
The Islanders have 25 home wins, the most for the club since posting 26 during the 1984-85 campaign...New York and Montreal split four meetings this season, each winning twice on home ice...The Canadiens have lost five straight at Nassau Coliseum (0-4-0-1).
03/31 23:29:38 ET