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Matheson scores winner as Canadiens down Islanders 4-3 in overtime

Montreal Canadiens players celebrate a goal by teammate Mike Matheson against the New York Islanders during overtime period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Saturday, February 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes Montreal Canadiens players celebrate a goal by teammate Mike Matheson against the New York Islanders during overtime period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Saturday, February 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
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Mike Matheson scored the winning goal to lift the Montreal Canadiens to 4-3 overtime decision over the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon.

In their final game wearing their light blue uniforms, the Canadiens (21-27-4) rallied to grab their first victory in the "retro reverse" jerseys and sealed their season record at 1-6-1 in the alternate garb.

Nick Suzuki broke a nine-game scoring drought while Justin Barron and Kirby Dach added third-period goals. Mike Hoffman collected three assists.

Samuel Montembeault made 27 saves in the Montreal net.

Brock Nelson, Bo Horvat and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders. Noah Dobson collected two assists.

Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves as New York suffered back-to-back losses.

Montreal opened the scoring in the opening frame after Josh Anderson, double-teamed along the boards, found Rafael Harvey-Pinard. The winger then sent a pass across the crease for Suzuki to put the Habs up 1-0 at 12:57.

The Islanders (27-23-6) responded at 15:01 when Nelson redirected Dobson’s shot from the point. Nelson extended his career-high point streak to 10 games, the longest for New York since Josh Bailey's 11-game streak in 2017.

New York took the lead in the final seconds of the second period on the power play. Horvat scored from the corner of the boards, banking the puck off Montembeault and into the net.

The former Vancouver Canucks captain collected his fourth point (three goals, one assist) in four games as an Islander.

Barron scored his second NHL goal to level the score for Montreal at 4:02 of the final frame. The Islanders gave the 21-year-old more than enough space to whip a wrister from the high slot and beat Varlamov above the blocker.

New York regained the lead when Martin redirected Alexander Romanov’s wrist shot from the point.

Montreal tied the game a second time, with 3:16 remaining, after Dach deflected Mike Matheson’s low wrist shot from the blue line to force overtime.

The Islanders found themselves on the man-advantage after Mike Hoffman took a slashing call with 2:31 remaining in overtime.

Montreal successfully killed the power play and Hoffman cleared himself for a breakaway. Varlamov saved the winger’s shot but Matheson picked up the rebound and won the game with a tap-in goal.

The goal was reviewed for an offside on Hoffman by the referees, leaving both teams waiting in the tunnels for several minutes.

After a lengthy video review, the referees indicated that Hoffman was onside and confirmed Matheson’s winner.

MONTY’S MONTH

Canadiens netminder Samuel Montembeault took home the Molson Cup awarded to Montreal’s player of the month. The 26-year-old posted a 4-6-0 record along with a 3.14 goals against average, a .915 save percentage and stopped 323 total shots.

ROMANOV HOMECOMING

Saturday’s contest was New York Islanders defenceman Romanov’s first game back in Montreal. The Canadiens presented a tribute video in the first period and an emotional Romanov received an ovation from the Bell Centre crowd.

The 22-year-old Russian was traded at the 2022 NHL Draft for the 13th overall selection in a three-team deal that saw centre Dach move from the Chicago Blackhawks to Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 11, 2023.  

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