Series (Game 1 of 4)

New York leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, November 7th
Game 2: Monday, December 23rd
Game 3: Thursday, January 30th
Game 4: Thursday, March 20th

Islanders 0

(3-9-0, 7 pts)

Canadiens 3

(5-4-0, 14 pts)

7:30 PM ET, November 7, 2002

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
NYI 0 0 00
MTL 1 1 13

J. Theodore (Canadiens - G): Saves: 42, Save Pct.: 1.000

J. Bulis (Canadiens - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

C. Lapointe (Islanders - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Theodore makes 42 saves for first shutout of year

MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens had last season's Jose Theodore and a little luck on their side.

Jose Theodore

Theodore made 42 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

"He played an outstanding game. He was a wall,'' said Canadiens defenseman Craig Rivet, whose fluky goal opened the scoring and gave Theodore all the offensive support he needed.

The league's MVP and top goalie last season, Theodore entered with a 1-4-2 record and 4.06 goals-against-average.

"In the last few games, we've seen the progress he's been making,'' Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "Tonight he gave us the kind of performance we got used to seeing from him last year.''

Rivet scored on a power-play 7:50 in when his dump-in shot from center ice took an odd bounce off the glass straight into a wide open net.

The Islanders went on to lose their sixth straight, and seventh in eight games.

"It's not a surprise that that goal ended up being the game-winner,'' said goalie Chris Osgood, who was caught behind the net on the play. "It really just epitomizes what we've been going through for the last six or seven games. It's difficult. We're starting to play better but we're just not getting results so hopefully one of these games we will.''

Theodore got his 16th career shutout despite Montreal being outshot 42-21.

''(Theodore) played a good game,'' Islanders coach Peter Laviolette said. "We were in there for rebounds. We tried to get in his face and cause some screens so that maybe the puck would pop out, and he did a pretty good job of controlling them. When they did pop out, we were on the wrong side of it, it seemed.''

Jan Bulis and Doug Gilmour also scored for the Canadiens, who improved to 3-1-2 in their last six games.

"I think everybody here deserves credit for that shutout,'' Theodore said.

New York held an 11-4 margin in shots in the first, but Rivet scored the period's only goal on what proved to be the Canadiens' first shot.

"I think it's just a common thread but that aside, after it happened I thought we still battled pretty hard for 60 minutes and it was disappointing -- again,'' Laviolette said.

Montreal had already killed two penalties when the Islanders' Steve Webb was sent off for charging at 6:18.

The Canadiens had little offense going on their first power-play opportunity as Rivet fired dumped the puck in from center ice off the glass above the left-wing boards.

Osgood left the crease to get ready to play the puck behind the net, but Rivet's shot caromed off a metal stanchion between two panes of glass directly into the vacated net for his second goal of the season.

"I think that's the first time I've ever seen that, but you know what? That's a good first time to see it,'' Rivet said. "Better in a game than in practice.''

Bulis scored 1:47 into the second as he beat Osgood through the legs to put Montreal up by two.

Islanders defenseman Kenny Jonsson left with a virus during the second period and did not return.

Gilmour scored into an empty net with 17 seconds remaining.

Game notes

The Islanders have outshot their opponent in four games during their losing streak. ... Theodore had a career-high seven shutouts last season. ... The Canadiens were outshot for the seventh straight game. Montreal is 3-2-2 over that stretch.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press