UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Left wing Max Pacioretty's goal 1:51 into overtime Saturday night snapped a scoreless tie and lifted the Montreal Canadiens past the New York Islanders 1-0 at Nassau Coliseum.
Center David Desharnais came around the Islanders' net and passed the puck to Pacioretty, who had just been stopped seconds earlier by Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov on a 1-on-1 opportunity. Despite being hounded by Islanders defenseman Aaron Ness, Pacioretty got his stick on the puck and snuck it past Nabokov.
As the Canadiens poured off the bench, Pacioretty mimicked putting his stick into a holster.
The Canadiens (20-11-3) snapped a two-game losing streak. The Islanders (9-19-6) have lost 12 of their last 13 (1-10-2) and are 3-14-3 in their last 20 games, a stretch that included a 10-game road losing streak -- the longest road drought for the Islanders since the franchise's inaugural season in 1972-73.
Canadiens goalie Carey Price had 21 saves in the shutout. Nabokov, who missed the previous 12 games with a groin injury, had 24 saves.
Center Ryan Strome, the Islanders' first-round pick in 2011, made his NHL debut and played on New York's top power-play line. Strome was the AHL's player of the week in his final two full weeks with Bridgeport.
The scoreless tie through three periods was the first of the season for either team.
The Canadiens outshot the Islanders 11-9 in an uneven first period that featured New York left winger Eric Boulton and Montreal right winger George Parros brawling a mere 2:01 after faceoff. After a minute or so of tangling, Boulton dropped Parros, who had to be helped up off the ice by teammates and eventually headed to the locker room.
Tensions were further enflamed in the second period, when Canadiens center Lars Eller, racing over to a scrum for the puck in Canadiens' zone, shoved Islanders center John Tavares to the ice. After every skater on the ice ended up fighting for the puck, Tavares was the one penalized -- for holding the stick -- and argued his case to no avail as he headed to the box.
Eller and Tavares were at the center of another fracas early in the third, when Eller leveled Tavares with a blow to the head behind the Islanders' net. While Tavares picked up his helmet, the rest of the Islanders on the ice -- led by right winger Kyle Okposo -- raced over in search of retaliation. Eller served two minutes for an illegal check to the head.
The Islanders couldn't generate a serious scoring opportunity on the subsequent power play but had multiple chances later in the period, including breakaways by Tavares, Okposo and right winger Cal Clutterbuck that were stopped by Price. Left winger Thomas Vanek also missed the puck while winding up for a slap shot midway through the third.
The Canadiens began wresting away the momentum in the latter half of the third, when Nabokov deflected away a shot by center Tomas Plekanec and gloved a slap shot from defenseman Andrei Markov. With 1:43 left, Eller's shot ticked off the skate of Markov and into the goalmouth, where Nabokov smothered it.
NOTES: With the first snowfall of the season blanketing Long Island, the announced attendance was 14,408. ... The Islanders scratched D Matt Carkner, C Casey Cizikas and RW Colin McDonald. Cizikas suffered a jaw injury Thursday in Phoenix while Carkner and McDonald were each healthy scratches. ... With C Ryan Strome making his NHL debut, six of the Islanders' seven first-round draft picks from 2006 through 2011 were on the ice: RW Kyle Okposo (2006), C Josh Bailey (2008), C John Tavares (2009), D Calvin de Haan (2009), C Brock Nelson (2010) and Strome. The 2007 first-rounder, RW Nino Niederreiter, was dealt to Minnesota for RW Cal Clutterbuck in July. ... The Canadiens had a pair of healthy scratches: D Francis Bouillon and C Ryan White. ... For the Canadiens, Saturday marked the front end of their ninth set of back-to-back games this season.