The Associated Press
Vin A. Cherwoo
NEW YORK–After his team’s first four skaters in the shootout couldn’t beat goalie Thomas Greiss, Montreal Canadiens’ coach Claude Julien decided to go with the right-handed Joel Armia instead of Charles Hudon.
The move paid off.
Armia scored in the fifth round on the first shootout attempt of his career to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win over the N.Y. Islanders last night.
“We knew the glove side was the place to go and you saw our lefties go to their backhand,” Julien noted.
“We had ‘Hudie’ on our list there to go but he was a left shot, so we opted for Armie, who has a quick release, and I thought that was going to give us the better chance.”
Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin each had a goal and an assist, Artturi Lehkonen also scored, and Noah Juulsen added two assists.
The Canadiens rallied from a 3-1 deficit after 20 minutes to win for the fifth time in the last six meetings with the Islanders.
“Everybody knew we weren’t as good as we can be in the first period,” Armia said.
“I think everybody knew that if we’re going to have a chance to win this game, we’re going to have to be a lot better, and I think we did a pretty good job of that.”
Antti Niemi started in place of Carey Price and made 21 saves before stopping all five of New York’s attempts in the shootout.
Montreal now has won seven-of-11 games (7-3-1).
“We are a resilient group,” Domi said. “We bounced back and it was good to see.
“We know what it takes to win,” he added. “It’s fun. Winning is great.
“When you come back to win in another team’s arena, it’s even better.”
Casey Cizikas scored twice and Valtteri Filppula also had a goal for the Islanders, who snapped a season-high five-game winning streak.
Greiss stopped 32 shots.
“We were awful, plain and simple,” said Islanders’ coach Barry Trotz.
“The right team won tonight. That was our worst game of the year.”
The Islanders went on the power play with 27 seconds left in regulation time when the Canadiens were caught with too many men on the ice, but came up empty on the man advantage for the fourth time in the game.
Trailing by two after 20 minutes, the Canadiens came out with increased intensity in the second. They outshot the Islanders 15-6 and pulled within one with a power-play goal late in the period.
Domi fired a shot from the right circle that beat a screened Greiss on the goalie’s blocker side with 4:24 left.
Montreal nearly tied it almost two minutes later on another power play but Jeff Petry’s shot hit the goalpost.
The Canadiens eventually tied it at 7:43 of the third when Lehkonen scored on a tip in front on a long shot by Juulsen.
“We had a slow start that first period and we weren’t ourselves,” Julien conceded. “We talked about what we needed to do . . . and what needed to get better, and I guess the guys just responded well.
“That’s what you need to see.
“Not every game is going to be perfect,” he added. “How you react to certain situations is important.
“I thought our reaction after the first was extremely good.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, Washington doubled Edmonton 4-2, New Jersey dumped Pittsburgh 5-1, Boston edged Dallas 2-1 (OT), and Philadelphia beat Arizona 5-2.