With a familiar name leading the way, the Montreal Canadiens' sputtering power play finally came to life.
Mark Recchi scored twice and added two assists all with the man advantage to lead the Canadiens to a 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Islanders.
"Our game is skating and moving the puck around, and the coaching staff did a good job of recognizing that," said Recchi after seeing his team's 19th-ranked power play finally explode.
Recchi improved his numbers to a team-leading 17 points.
"They were really keying on (point-man Vladimir) Malakhov and we tried to work it inside."
Shayne Corson had a goal and an assist and Patrice Brisebois scored into an empty net for the Canadiens.
Claude Lapointe and Bryan Berard scored for the Islanders, who outshot the Canadiens 30-23 but were done in by their sub-par penalty killing.
"It seemed like some tough goals to give up, some deflections and the puck bouncing their way," Berard said. "Other than that, I thought five-on-five we outplayed them but our special teams killed us tonight."
Recchi moved into an eighth-place tie with Danny Grant in the league's iron-man category after playing in his 555th consecutive regular-season game. It didn't take long for him to commemorate the milestone.
Thirty seconds after Bryan Smolinski was assessed a slashing penalty, Recchi took a pass from Vladimir Malakhov along the boards before sending a cross-ice pass to Vincent Damphousse. Damphousse's return pass, after a deflection, went to Recchi, who notched his fourth goal of the season into an open net at the 3:58 mark.
Recchi scored midway in the second period to give Montreal a 2-1 lead. Recchi, tied up in front, managed to get his stick on the puck and re-direct it past goaltender Tommy Salo after a perfect pass by Corson from behind the net.
"That was just a great pass by Shayne (Corson)," Recchi said of his second goal. "We had some luck tonight too. And Jose (Theodore) made some huge saves in the third."
Theodore, playing in his second straight game after beating the Rangers on Wednesday night, made several key saves in the third, including a glove save on Robert Reichel and a pad save off Trevor Linden as Montreal was outshot 15-5. Later in the period, he robbed Joe Sacco and made a game-saving glove save off Jason Dawe with Montreal holding a one-goal lead.
"The puck moves so fast that sometimes you just have to react," Theodore said. "On a couple of occasions, I just got lucky. I thought after we got that two-goal lead they just really picked up their game and sometimes you can't do anything about that."
Corson scored from behind the net at 18:34 of the second to give Montreal a two-goal lead. His attempted pass ent off Salo's stick and into the net.
Berard made the score 3-2 after firing a blistering wrist shot from the right faceoff circle at 7:23 of the third. The goal came after New York spent an entire power play inside the Canadiens' zone.
Lapointe scored midway in the first period, collecting a loose puck in the neutral zone, skating in alone and beating Theodore with a low shot to the stick side.
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