Matheson scores in OT for Canadiens, beat Isles 4-3
MONTREAL (AP) — Mike Matheson scored in overtime to lift the Montreal Canadiens over the New York Islanders 4-3 on Saturday.
But it took several minutes for the home crowd to be able to celebrate.
After the Canadiens successfully killed Mike Hoffman’s slashing penalty, the winger found himself on a breakaway. New York netminder Semyon Varlamov stopped Hoffman’s initial shot but Matheson bagged the winner on the rebound.
The goal was reviewed for an offside, leaving both teams waiting in the tunnels. After a lengthy video review, the officials indicated the play was onside and confirmed Matheson’s winner.
“It took a long time, we were all kind of talking and trying to figure out what they could have been looking at,” Montreal’s Kirby Dach said. “Hoff had full possession coming across the line or whatever the rule is and honestly with a play like that it could go either way.”
Most Islanders had retreated to the locker room and were told to stand by as the referees reviewed the play.
“I think a lot of us knew it was close,” Bo Horvat said. “We didn’t obviously get the final result or whatever, but you know, it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t call that one back. But I mean it’s kind of on us to not be scoring that on the power play.”
Isles coach Lane Lambert described the moment as “extremely deflating — twice.”
Nick Suzuki broke a nine-game scoring drought, while Justin Barron and Kirby Dach added third-period goals. Hoffman collected three assists and Samuel Montembeault made 27 saves.
Their final game wearing their “retro reverse” light blue uniforms was also the Canadiens’ first win in the alternate garb, going 1-6-1 this season. Coach Martin St. Louis jokingly shared his relief that the Canadiens will not be wearing the jerseys again this season.
“This is a historical franchise,” St. Louis said. “And you probably have some guys that wore those jerseys 50 years ago that were red and white looking down going: ‘What are you guys doing in blue?’ So we probably get what we deserve … I don’t know what next year brings but I hope it’s not those jerseys.”
Brock Nelson, Horvat and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders, and Noah Dobson collected two assists. 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 with seven minutes left in the first.
The Islanders responded with five minutes left 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. 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.
Montembeault took home the Molson Cup, which is 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.
Saturday’s contest was 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 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 Dach move from the Chicago Blackhawks to Montreal.
Canadiens: Cap back-to-back matinee games against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
Islanders: Host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
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