Martinek scored his first goal since the opening week of last season to break a third-period tie as the New York Islanders defeated the Canadiens 6-3, handing them their first regulation loss in 12 games.
But Martinek broke the tie at 7:56 of the final period when his slapper from the left point sailed through traffic and past Carey Price. The goal was the veteran defenseman's first in the National Hockey League since Oct. 12, 2011, one of seven games he played for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season before being sidelined by injuries. He had spent the rest of his career with New York, and his previous goal for the Islanders came on March 31, 2011.
"Sometimes you need to do that, just shoot as hard as I can," Martinek said.
Martinek was playing his third game of the season in his second stint with the Islanders. He dressed because Lubomir Visnovsky went home to Slovakia for personal reasons.
John Tavares swatted home a loose puck with 1:07 left for his 14th of the season to provide some insurance as the Islanders beat the Eastern Conference leaders for the second time in as many meetings. Colin McDonald hit the empty net to give the Islanders (10-11-2) back-to-back home victories for the first time this season. They are 4-8-1 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum this season and 2-2-1 with games against the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals remaining on a seven-game homestand.
"Having the Rangers here will be intense," Martinek said of Thursday night's game. "All we can do is continue playing the way we have these past two here at home. It's really a simple game. You have to play hard every night."
Martin also had an assist on McDonald's goal -- as well as adding to his League-leading total with six hits.
"The last two games are a pretty good indication of the way we need to play,'' he said after the Islanders outhit Montreal 25-17.
Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring in the first period for Montreal, which was 8-0-3 in its past 11 games.
Gionta's goal was the 20,000th goal in franchise history for Montreal (14-5-4), the most of any team in NHL history.
"This was a tough one for us," Gionta said. "They are a dangerous offensive team and they have the power when they play their game. We simply didn't play the way we wanted to play."
Price surrendered five goals on 23 shots. He's allowed nine goals in two games against the Islanders this season and 12 in his past two starts. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 29 shots for New York.
"I'm always telling the guys that it's all about consistency from shift to shift," Nabokov said. "If we play the way we can for 60 minutes, we won't be easy for any team to beat,"
Montreal capitalized on some poor Islanders play in their own zone to grab an early lead. Michael Ryder bumped Martinek off the puck behind the net and fed Alex Galchenyuk in the left corner. Galchenyuk zipped a pass to an uncovered Plekanec in the slot for a quick one-timer at 5:21. Plekanec's 10th goal made him the first Canadiens player to reach double figures this season.
The Islanders evened the game early in the second period after Alecei Emelin was called for slashing Frans Nielsen 49 seconds after the opening faceoff. Mark Streit carried from his own zone all the way to the left half-wall, then fed a pass across the slot to Moulson, who whipped a wrist shot past Price at 1:23 for his 11th of the season. It was the first time since Nov. 26, 2011, that Tavares wasn't on the ice when Moulson scored. He had been on the ice for 39 in a row and assisted on 25 of those.
New York couldn't cash in on a 37-second two-man advantage, but the Islanders converted during the 5-on-4 power play. Tavares worked the puck out of the right corner to Brad Boyes, who found Martin alone in the slot for a quick snap shot past Price at 12:10. It was Martin's second goal of the season -- and the first of his career on the power play.
"It felt good. It was a hard-working play out there," Martin said. "Boyes picked the puck up and made a great feed to me."
Grabner capitalized on a fortuitous bounce to make it 3-1 just 48 seconds later. Thomas Hickey's left-point shot hit a defender in front of the net and caromed right to Grabner, who rifled it into the empty right side for his ninth of the season.
Montreal got a 20-second two-man advantage late in the period and converted just as the first penalty expired. Subban's straightaway blast through traffic went past a screened Nabokov at 16:49. The defenseman's fifth of the season came two seconds into the 5-on-4 advantage.
The Canadiens tied it on another power-play goal 6:07 into the third period. A bad New York change led to a bench minor for too many men, and Gionta slammed home the rebound of Subban's shot for his seventh of the season.
But the tie lasted less than two minutes before Martinek put the Islanders ahead to stay.
"This wasn't our night," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "The Islanders have good young players. They played a strong game."
Material from team media was used in this report.
|Tomas Plekanec (10) ASST: Alex Galchenyuk (10), Michael Ryder (10)|
1 - 0 MTL
|PPG - Matt Moulson (11) ASST: Mark Streit (9), Frans Nielsen (9)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Matt Martin (2) ASST: Brad Boyes (12), John Tavares (13)|
2 - 1 NYI
|Michael Grabner (9) ASST: Thomas Hickey (1), Colin McDonald (4)|
3 - 1 NYI
|PPG - P.K. Subban (5) ASST: Andrei Markov (9), Michael Ryder (11)|
3 - 2 NYI
|PPG - Brian Gionta (7) ASST: P.K. Subban (8), Michael Ryder (12)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Radek Martinek (1) ASST: Kyle Okposo (7), Thomas Hickey (2)|
4 - 3 NYI
|John Tavares (14) ASST: Brad Boyes (13)|
5 - 3 NYI
|EN - Colin McDonald (4) ASST: Matt Martin (1), Casey Cizikas (6)|
6 - 3 NYI
|Travis Hamonic Tripping against Ryan White|
|Tomas Plekanec Tripping against Frans Nielsen|
|Alexei Emelin Slashing against Kyle Okposo|
|Ryan White Holding against Colin McDonald|
|Lars Eller Tripping against Kyle Okposo|
|Andrew MacDonald Holding against Brian Gionta|
|Mark Streit Cross checking against David Desharnais|
|John Tavares Interference - Goalkeeper against Carey Price|
|David Ullstrom Too many men on the ice|
|Brendan Gallagher Too many men on the ice|