Montreal Canadiens listless in 2-0 loss to New York Islanders
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:42PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 11, 2014 12:55PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson scored power-play goals late in the second period and Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for the shutout as the New York Islanders downed the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 on Thursday night.
The loss, combined with Tampa Bay's 4-2 win over Philadelphia, compromised the Canadiens (45-28-8) chances of starting the playoffs on home ice. Montreal is second in the Atlantic Division with 98 points and one game left to play while the Lightning has 97 points with two games left in the regular season.
The Islanders (32-37-11) posted their first regulation time win in four games but improved to 7-2-2 in their last 11 games. Nabokov posted his fourth shutout of the season.
The Canadiens, coming off a 3-2 overtime loss in Chicago on Wednesday, came out flat and never got their energy up as they were outshot 30-19.
New York held a 9-2 shot advantage early in the opening period but couldn't beat Carey Price, even when the Montreal goaltender wandered halfway up the left boards and then misplayed the puck.
But Canadiens defenceman Douglas Murray, who returned from a three game suspension, was ejected at 10:52 of the second period for a check from behind on Johan Sundstrom.
The Islanders rookie turned around just as the Canadiens defenceman checked him at the side of the net into the end boards. Sundstrom was injured and was taken to hospital for tests. There was no immediate word on his condition.
The Islanders used the ensuing power play to open the scoring, as Strome put a shot past Price through a Casey Cizikas screen from the right circle at 15:07.
With Thomas Vanek off for high-sticking, Nelson whipped a shot under the cross bar from close range at 19:40.
Murray drew his first career suspension for an elbow to the head of Tampa Bay's Michael Kostka on April 1.
The Canadiens end their regular season Saturday at home against the New York Rangers. Tampa Bay plays at home Friday night against Columbus and Sunday against Washington.
Notes: Price and defencemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Elemin, who were given a game off Wednesday in Chicago, were back in the lineup. Forward Lars Eller missed a second game with a flu. There was no update on the knee injury suffered Wednesday by forward Alex Galchenyuk.