Islanders fall short in 4-3 loss to Canadiens after early three-goal deficit

MONTREAL (AP) — Sean Monahan scored his second goal of the game with 2:12 remaining, lifting the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-3 victory over the Islanders and spoiling Patrick Roy’s return to Montreal on Thursday night.

After the Canadiens gave up a 3-1 lead in the third period, Monahan fired a one-timer into the Islanders’ net to put Montreal back on top.

Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield each had a goal and an assist for Montreal, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Sam Montembeault stopped 43 shots and was credited with an assist on Monahan’s first goal.

Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat each had a goal and assist, Kyle Palmieri also scored and Noah Dobson had three assists as the Islanders fell to 1-2-0 under Roy. Semyon Varlamov made 22 saves.

Roy, the Hall of Fame goaltender who helped lead the Canadiens to Stanley Cup victories in 1986 and 1993, was hired as the Islanders head coach last Saturday after over seven years away from the NHL. He received a deafening ovation from the Bell Centre crowd when the Canadiens displayed a photo montage of their former netminder during the singing of “O Canada".

The Canadiens led 3-1 with nine minutes remaining in the third when forward Brendan Gallagher caught Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech with an elbow to the head. Gallagher received a five-minute major and Barzal and Palmieri scored on the ensuing power play to even the score at 3 with 3:32 left.

Monahan then scored to put Montreal back ahead and the Canadiens hung on despite a late Islanders push, which included a shot off the post by Horvat.

Roy was the main attraction entering the night, with fans sporting his jersey and holding signs during warmups that read “Bon Retour 33,” a shoutout to his No. 33 that hangs in the Bell Centre rafters.

Roy had to use his timeout before the game was 13 minutes old because the Canadiens jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

Suzuki tipped home a feed from Juraj Slafkovsky on the power play to open the scoring at 7:06 of the first period.

Caufield doubled Montreal’s lead at 11:36 by dancing around Varlamov for his 17th of the season.

Just 43 seconds later, Mike Matheson rushed down the ice and laid a backhand pass into the slot for Monahan to score another power-play goal.


Islanders: Host the Florida Panthers on Saturday

Canadiens: At Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday