UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP)—The New York Islanders are giving the small home crowds a lot to cheer about this season.
“We want teams to come in here and know that it will be a tough game,” Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. “We know that if we’re going to have a good season, we have to play well at home.”
“There are no easy games in the NHL any more,” Parrish said, “but if we’re going to be successful, these are games we have to win, especially at home.”
New York has only sold out its home opener, and season-ticket sales have dropped 20 percent.
“We appreciate all the fans who show up,” Parrish said. “We’re playing for both the fans and for ourselves.”
The Canadiens have scored two goals or fewer 11 times in 13 games and have gone 2-8-1 in them.
“It doesn’t matter how many chances you have,” Canadiens forward Saku Koivu said of his team’s 29 shots. “You have to score three or four goals if you want to win.”
The Islanders took a 1-0 lead at 11:10 of the first period when Kvasha ripped a 45-foot slap shot from the left side. The puck appeared to graze off the stick of defenseman Sheldon Souray and got past Theodore.
“It got his stick,” Theodore said. “It also hit my stick so quickly, it went right in. Nine times out of 10, that puck doesn’t get through.”
The Canadiens tied it at 2:36 of the second. Islanders forward Arron Asham lost the puck behind his net to Mike Ribeiro, who made a pass out to Dackell for a wrist shot that beat Snow high to the glove side. Ribeiro became the first Canadiens player to reach 10 points this season (3 goals, 7 assists).
New York went back in front at 17:20 when Parrish put in the rebound of Michael Peca’s sharp-angle shot.
Blake sealed the victory with an empty-net goal that made it 3-1 with 40.9 seconds left.
“We showed up a lot better in the last two periods and grabbed the momentum,” Koivu said. “The only thing missing was goals.”
The Islanders now embark on a four-game road trip. New York is 1-3-2 away from home this season.
“It was a nice way to head off on the road,” Parrish said.
Jason Wiemer was claimed off waivers from the Islanders by the Minnesota Wild. “This was simply a practical business decision. Jason is a pro who comes to work every night,” New York general manager Mike Milbury said of the move. … Theodore is three wins shy of 100 in the NHL. … After playing 11 of their first 16 games at home, the Canadiens began a five-game road trip.The final four stops are in Canada (Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton).