New York Islanders' Josh Bailey (12) scores against Montreal Canadiens...

New York Islanders' Josh Bailey (12) scores against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj during the shootout. The Islanders won 3-2. (March 17, 2012) Credit: AP

MONTREAL -- The Islanders are not in the business of being picky about how they get their wins, not at this point in this season, not when they had a five-game losing streak they were eager to put behind them.

So they'll gladly take Saturday night's 3-2 victory over the Canadiens via Josh Bailey's goal in the sixth round of the shootout, and they'll continue on their five-stop road trip thankful that their losing streak is no more.

Sure, the win came at the expense of the Canadiens, who are neck-and-neck with them to avoid the cellar in the Eastern Conference, but quality of opponent means nothing to the Islanders. They were more than happy to finally have that winning feeling back in their dressing room, something they haven't experienced in quite some time.

And what pleased coach Jack Capuano was that the Islanders showed impressive resolve on the road, which has been an ongoing problem this season.

On the heels of the losing streak in which they "found ways to lose," according to Bailey, the Islanders chose to fight back when they fell behind less than three minutes into the game. And they didn't fall into the here-we-go-again trap when they lost the lead early in the third period.

Asked what he liked most about the Islanders' performance, Capuano said, "Just the way we worked. We've been going through a tough stretch with our confidence level and tonight we kept putting a lot of shots on and he was making some big saves."

Islanders goaltender Al Montoya, making his first start in a month, earned his first victory since Dec. 17. The Islanders' most effective goaltender early in the season, Montoya has played in only six games since suffering a concussion in Winnipeg on Dec. 20.

Montoya withstood a frenzy of scoring opportunities by Montreal late in regulation and in overtime, an impressive performance that gave the Islanders a lift heading into the shootout.

Frans Nielsen, who gave the Islanders a 2-1 advantage in the second period, and Montreal's David Desharnais scored in the first round of the shootout. Matt Moulson and the Canadiens' Rene Bourque scored in the fourth round.

Bailey said he was eager to feel the sensation of Capuano tapping his shoulder, the sign that he's up next in the shootout. When he received that tap, he said he was instantly pumped to have the opportunity to send the Islanders to Toronto on a winning note.

After Montreal's Andrei Markov's shot went high, Bailey had that chance for hockey's version of a walk-off -- and he delivered. "That's part of the reason you're a hockey player -- for those moments," Bailey said. "You get up for those moments. In an arena like this, it's exciting."

The Canadiens opened the scoring just 2:53 into the game on Aaron Palushaj's first career goal, which came about because of Mark Streit's failure to clear the puck.

Streit made up for that mistake in the second period, tying the score with a power-play goal -- his sixth of the season -- two minutes into the period.

Nielsen's hard liner across the chest of Budaj late in the second gave the Islanders the lead, but Canadiens center Louis Leblanc slipped a backhand past Montoya 3:38 into the third period.

Capuano said he didn't point out to his players that this was a battle to avoid last place in the Eastern Conference, saying he was confident they already knew that. And after the victory, Streit confirmed there was added motivation there.

"Nobody," he said, "wants to finish last in the conference."

More Islanders

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME