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New York Islanders 3, Montr?al Canadiens 4 FINAL @NHL

MONTREAL (AP) - Steve Begin battled hard to give the Montreal Canadiens a lead they could finally hold.

Begin scored with 1:45 left in the third period to lift Montreal to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

The Canadiens, 4-0 on the road this season, won their second straight home game. After rallying twice Tuesday for their first win at the Bell Centre, Montreal blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2, but still rallied to win.

``That's the way hockey goes now with all those changes and rules,'' Begin said. ``When you've got the lead you've got to keep on pushing. It's never over. You never know what can happen and tonight was a perfect example. We kept just kept pushing and we came out with two points, two huge points for us.''

The Canadiens took a 3-2 lead in the third period when Begin set up Christopher Higgins' go-ahead goal at 13:28.

Begin carried the puck down the right wing and made a cross-ice pass. Winger Jan Bulis tapped it along to the left to Higgins, who kicked the puck ahead before beating Rick DiPietro with a shot along the ice to restore Montreal's lead.

Alexei Yashin scored his fourth goal of the season at 17:07 as New York tied the game 3-3. He deflected a shot off Jose Theodore's right pad and into the net with 2:53 left in the third period.

``It's deflating, obviously,'' Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray said. ``We've given up some leads in the last minutes of games. It's obviously discouraging but I think by the way we bounced back and continued to work that there's no quit. A guy like (Begin) never quits and it was good to see him get rewarded with a goal tonight.''

Begin got his third goal of the season at 18:15 as Montreal evened its record at the Bell Centre at 2-2.

``It's disappointing,'' said Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, who stopped 28 shots. ``That's not something that you want to have happen in the last two minutes of the game.''

Miroslav Satan scored a pair of power-play goals for the Islanders, including the tying goal 18:45 into the second period. Defenseman Alexei Zhitnik assisted on both goals.

New York, which beat the Rangers in consecutive nights earlier this week, evened its record at 4-4-0.

``Our forwards were sloppy on the last two goals, really sloppy,'' Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. ``We told them, 'You can't give up 4-on-2s.'''

Trailing by two early, Satan drew the Islanders to within 2-1 before the end of the period when he tucked the puck around Theodore's pad and pushed it just inside the right post at 17:43.

He scored his sixth of the season with 1:15 left in the second.

Saku Koivu had a power-play goal and assisted on Alex Kovalev's second of the season - also with the man advantage - as Montreal built a 2-0 lead 13:31 in.

Both Canadiens goals came off faceoffs in the Islanders' zone. Montreal opened the scoring 8:26 in when Alexander Perezhogin passed to Koivu, who moved the puck back from the edge of the crease and flipped the puck over DiPietro's pad for his fourth of the season.

Notes: Eight-year-old Jeremy Gabriel sang the Canadian national anthem prior to the game. Deaf since birth, Gabriel's a cappella rendition of ``O Canada'' was greeted with rapt attention from the sellout crowd, culminating with a prolonged standing ovation. Gabriel was part of a group of 20 guests invited to attend the game in the luxury box Theodore provides for sick and underpriviliged children. ``It was very emotional and very touching,'' Koivu said. ``He did a great job on the national anthem and he asked me before the game if I could score a goal for him, and I was lucky enough to get that one tonight.'' ... Islanders left wing Jason Blake was left with a puzzled look when Theodore stuck his glove in Blake's face after he wound up in front of the Canadiens goalie at the end of the second period. No penalty was called.

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