MONTREAL (AP) -- Steve Begin battled hard to give the Montreal
Canadiens a lead they could finally hold.
Begin scored with 1:45 left in the third period to lift Montreal
to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
The Canadiens, 4-0 on the road this season, won their second
straight home game. After rallying twice Tuesday for their first
win at the Bell Centre, Montreal blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2, but
still rallied to win.
"That's the way hockey goes now with all those changes and
rules," Begin said. "When you've got the lead you've got to keep
on pushing. It's never over. You never know what can happen and
tonight was a perfect example. We kept just kept pushing and we
came out with two points, two huge points for us."
The Canadiens took a 3-2 lead in the third period when Begin set
up Christopher Higgins' go-ahead goal at 13:28.
Begin carried the puck down the right wing and made a cross-ice
pass. Winger Jan Bulis tapped it along to the left to Higgins, who
kicked the puck ahead before beating Rick DiPietro with a shot
along the ice to restore Montreal's lead.
"It's deflating, obviously," Canadiens defenseman Sheldon
Souray said. "We've given up some leads in the last minutes of
games. It's obviously discouraging but I think by the way we
bounced back and continued to work that there's no quit. A guy like
[Begin] never quits and it was good to see him get rewarded with a
Begin got his third goal of the season at 18:15 as Montreal
evened its record at the Bell Centre at 2-2.
"It's disappointing," said Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, who
stopped 28 shots. "That's not something that you want to have
happen in the last two minutes of the game."
New York, which beat the Rangers in consecutive nights earlier
this week, evened its record at 4-4-0.
"Our forwards were sloppy on the last two goals, really
sloppy," Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. "We told them, 'You
can't give up 4-on-2s."
Trailing by two early, Satan drew the Islanders to within 2-1
before the end of the period when he tucked the puck around
Theodore's pad and pushed it just inside the right post at 17:43.
He scored his sixth of the season with 1:15 left in the second.
Saku Koivu had a power-play goal and assisted on Alex Kovalev's
second of the season -- also with the man advantage -- as Montreal
built a 2-0 lead 13:31 in.
Both Canadiens goals came off faceoffs in the Islanders' zone.
Montreal opened the scoring 8:26 in when Alexander Perezhogin
passed to Koivu, who moved the puck back from the edge of the
crease and flipped the puck over DiPietro's pad for his fourth of
Eight-year-old Jeremy Gabriel sang the Canadian national
anthem prior to the game. Deaf since birth, Gabriel's a cappella
rendition of "O Canada" was greeted with rapt attention from the
sellout crowd, culminating with a prolonged standing ovation.
Gabriel was part of a group of 20 guests invited to attend the game
in the luxury box Theodore provides for sick and underpriviliged
children. "It was very emotional and very touching," Koivu said.
"He did a great job on the national anthem and he asked me before
the game if I could score a goal for him, and I was lucky enough to
get that one tonight." ... Islanders left wing Jason Blake was
left with a puzzled look when Theodore stuck his glove in Blake's
face after he wound up in front of the Canadiens goalie at the end
of the second period. No penalty was called.