January 3, 2001
CANADIENS 3, ISLANDERS 0
Canadiens Overpower Struggling Islanders
By DAVE CALDWELL
UNIONDALE, N.Y., Jan. 2 Â Montreal goaltender José "hé¯¤ore, jumping up
and down on his skate blades, found himself in the middle of a mob of
teammates. He was going to shut out the Islanders, but that was not
such a mighty feat. Seven other goaltenders had shut them out this
Thé¯¤ore wrapped up the Canadiens' 3-0 victory over the Islanders by
scoring an empty-net goal with 8 seconds left. It was the first goal
in Thé¯¤ore's career and made him only the sixth goalie in National
Hockey League history to score a goal in the regular season.
"We get the win and a shutout, and I get a goal," Thé¯¤ore said. "It's
a pretty good night for me."
Finally, the crowd of 7,916 at Nassau Coliseum, booing loudly after
the Canadiens took control of the game in the second period, had
something to cheer. There could have been no more appropriate way for
the Islanders' dismal seven-game homestand to end.
"It can't get worse than that," Islanders center Claude Lapointe said.
The Islanders (11-21-4-2) were shut out in their last two games.
"What should have been a real feast for us turned out to be a
famine," Islanders Coach Butch Goring said of the homestand.
The fans grew impatient tonight watching the Islanders trying to
muster some offense against the Canadiens (11-23-4-2), who entered
tonight's game with the worst road record in the N.H.L.
"As much as we love the fans who come out and watch us, if they're
going to boo us like that, we'd appreciate it if they'd just stay
home," said right wing Mark Parrish. "That's not going to help us
out, to be honest with you."
Mariusz Czerkawski buzzed around Thé¯¤ore all night and took eight
shots, but he did not score. Tim Connolly, 19, and Oleg Kvasha, 22,
the centers on the Islanders' top two lines, also came close to
scoring, but Theodore stopped them.
The Islanders' 37-year-old goalie, John Vanbiesbrouck, played almost
as well as Thé¯¤ore, but Vanbiesbrouck's defensemen gave him little
help against the Canadiens, who had lost their last five road games.
Patrick Poulin scored twice for Montreal, the first goal in the
second period on a rebound, the second one in the third period on a
slap shot in which Vanbiesbrouck appeared to be screened by his
defenseman, Yevgeny Korolev.
Then, as if the Islanders needed one final insult, Thé¯¤ore scored.
Simply looking to clear the puck from a zone flooded with Islanders,
Thé¯¤ore swept the puck down the ice, and it wobbled, slowly, past the
Islanders and went into the empty net. "It's awesome," said Thé¯¤ore,
who won only his seventh game of the season. "It's not something I
was looking for."