Isles win in shootout, but lose Montoya
WINNIPEG, Canada -- The Islanders grabbed a second straight shootout win here Tuesday night, but left with a lot of uncertainty in goal.
Evgeni Nabokov came on to replace an injured Al Montoya with 1:20 left in the second period and the Islanders carried through to earn a point with a strong third in which they kept the Jets on the perimeter, though they failed to bury a few golden chances themselves.
The Islanders were outshot 14-9 in the third period but Nabokov was tested only once on a hard Andrew Ladd wrist shot with less than five minutes to play and Nabokov got his glove on it. Nabokov was sharp in overtime, stopping five tough shots, then one in the shootout (another shot missed the net) as PA Parenteau and Frans Nielsen scored on Ondrej Pavelec for a 3-2 Isles win, their second in a row on the road in a shootout.
Montoya had given up the tying goal on a long-range wrist shot by Ladd, the Jets captain, at 9:46 of the second, but had otherwise played another sharp game. He made 17 saves, including one on Evander Kane seconds before Montoya's night ended with 1:20 left in the second.
Kane drove the net after his shot and got bumped by Milan Jurcina. As Kane hurtled into the crease, he put his stick up and clocked Montoya across the mask with it. They both went down. Kane was incensed that he got a minor for goaltender interference.
Montoya stayed down for two minutes as Nabokov stretched. Montoya went off, Nabokov went in and he was promptly greeted by a three-on-one short-handed rush by the Jets, who fumbled that chance badly. John Tavares gave the puck away inside the Winnipeg blue line to create it.
Aside from losing Montoya, the Islanders had to be frustrated that 40 minutes of mostly solid play left them tied. Michael Grabner one-handed a loose puck into a yawning net at 3:53 of the second to put the Isles ahead for the second time, a play that began with a nifty poke-check by Nielsen in his own zone.
That goal started another stretch in which the Isles dominated, cutting off passing outlets for Jets defenders and maintaining excellent defensive zone discipline in their assignments. The Tavares-Matt Moulson-Parenteau line changed the momentum every time on the ice, completely outworking the Jets to create chance after chance.
The three combined for 15 of the Isles' 33 shots. That line buried one of those chances at 8:17 of the first, a nice passing play from Tavares to Moulson and then across the slot to Parenteau, who beat Johnny Oduya to the puck and fired it past an out-of-position Pavelec to open the scoring and cap a six-minute run of near-perfect Isles play.