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Canadiens 5, Islanders 3: New York Comeback Comes Up Short

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Petteri Nokelainen scored the go-ahead tally after Montreal wasted a two-goal lead in the third period, and it proved to be the game-winner as the Canadiens squeezed past the New York Islanders, 5-3.

Montreal's Carey Price made 29 saves and was backed by goals from Erik Cole, Andrei Kostitsyn and Mathieu Darche. Hal Gill added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the Canadiens' first back-to-back victories in a month.

Josh Bailey and John Tavares each scored in the final frame to tie things, but New York's comeback fell short. Al Montoya made 24 stops in defeat, the Islanders' third straight.

Bailey cut the deficit to 3-2 at the 5:18 mark of the third with a nifty forehand-to-backhand deke out front.

Tavares tied it with 8:32 remaining by banging home his own rebound from the left doorstep.

"As the game went on I thought we'd get a point," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said.

Nokelainen, fresh off the bench, stopped the momentum by letting a one-timer fly from the right point that flew over Montoya's glove, off the post and into the net with 6:15 showing.

Gill's empty-netter from his own zone came with 50.7 seconds showing.

"We did a good job in the first two periods, but in the third we got away from it. ... We got a little bit comfortable there," Nokelainen said.

Early on, P.A. Parenteau found Matt Moulson streaking in front of Price, who was caught out of position and watched as Moulson sent a backhander into the unoccupied net at the 7:50 mark of the first.

But Montreal scored just 1:25 later, as Kostitsyn chipped the puck off the right boards, chased it down himself and wristed a shot past Montoya from inside the right circle.

Darche's slap shot outside the right circle trickled through at the 13:28 mark for a 2-1 lead, which was extended on Cole's power play tally just 31 seconds into the final period.

Game Notes

Montreal won consecutive games for the first time since defeating Phoenix and Nashville on November 10 and 12, respectively...The Canadiens welcomed back defenseman Chris Campoli, who played 16 1/2 minutes in his first game since tearing his hamstring in the season opener... The Isles had won three straight against the Canadiens.

Final - 12.13.2011 1 2 3 Total
New York Islanders 1 0 2 3
Montreal Canadiens 2 0 3 5

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