MONTREAL (AP) _ Michael Ryder and the Montreal Canadiens entered the
All-Star break on a high note.
Ryder, the NHL's leading rookie scorer, got the winning goal midway into the
third period, extending Montreal's winning streak to three with a 2-1 victory
over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Ryder, selected to play in Saturday's YoungStars game during All-Star
weekend in St. Paul, Minn., took Saku Koivu's pass and scored his 15th goal
with a shot from the right side that went in off goaltender Garth Snow's glove.
``It was a great pass by Saku and I just wanted to get to the net and I
managed to squeak it in,'' Ryder said. ``It's good to end on a note like
Ryder leads all NHL rookies with 39 points, three more than the Islanders'
Trent Hunter, who will be his teammate Saturday.
``It should be a good weekend,'' Ryder said. ``I'll just enjoy the whole
experience, and going in with a three-game winning streak, I'll just enjoy it a
Mike Ribeiro scored for the third straight game and Jose Theodore made 27
saves for Montreal, which won four of five prior to the break.
Justin Papineau scored a power-play goal for New York, which lost in
regulation for the first time in seven games (4-1-1-1). Snow stopped 36 of 38
``I thought we controlled most of the play in the second period, and we had
our chances, there's no question about it,'' Islanders center Jason Blake said.
``Jose played well tonight and we didn't get a second one by him.''
The Canadiens, seventh overall in the Eastern Conference with 64 points,
opened a five-point lead over the eighth-place Islanders.
``It was a great effort from everyone,'' Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray
said. ``It was a good team win.''
Souray, who leads all NHL defenseman in goals with 15 and will make his
first All-Star appearance Sunday, got his 20th assist on Ribeiro's power-play
goal in the first period. He'd never had more than 11 points in a season.
Each team converted its first man-advantage opportunity.
Ribeiro opened the scoring with his 15th of the season. With Islanders
center Dave Scatchard off for hooking, Ribeiro banked a shot from behind the
goal line into the net off the back of Snow's pants.
``Yeah, I meant to do that,'' Ribeiro said. ``I think Snow thought I was
going around the net, and I knew he was going away from his post so I tried to
bank it off him, and it worked.''
New York drew even when Papineau converted an opportunity 45 seconds into a
double minor to Montreal's Richard Zednik for high-sticking Oleg Kvasha.
The Islanders kept it tied with a scoreless second period despite drawing
three straight minors, which kept them short-handed for 5:41 of the final 6:27
of the period.
``They threw everything at the net and I was just fortunate enough to get my
blocker on a couple of the shots from Souray,'' Snow said. ``But you know, 1-1
going into the third, we would have taken that going into the game.''