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Plekanec's four points push Canadiens past Islanders

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com

MONTREAL -- Tomas Plekanec matched his career high with his sixth four-point game on a night when the Montreal Canadiens scored an early goal in all three periods.

Plekanec had two goals and two assists to give Montreal a 6-4 win against the New York Islanders at Bell Centre on Saturday.

David Desharnais had a goal and an assist, and P.K. Subban, Dale Weise and Alex Galchenyuk scored for Montreal (28-13-3), which was 1-2-1 following a season-high six-game winning streak.

"I don't know how many nights it's going to happen for us where in the first two minutes we score, but I think we focused on the right things," said Subban, who scored his 10th goal on a power play at 1:56 of the first period. "Even though they had some fortunate bounces throughout the game that ended up in our net, I thought we stuck to the plan. In between periods we were focused, guys were talking. We knew we would have to play a full 60 minutes to win this game, and I thought we did."

Weise scored 10 seconds into the second period, and Galchenyuk scored his first goal in 10 games 52 seconds into the third.

"We're not a good-starting team, for whatever reason that is," Weise said. "We wanted to focus on that [Saturday]. We want to make this a tough building to play in, and I thought every start to every period we came out and we pushed the tempo."

Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski made 27 saves in his second straight start. Carey Price is day-to-day after sustaining an upper-body injury on Wednesday.

New York goalie Jaroslav Halak started consecutive games for the second time this season. He made 27 saves on 33 shots and was replaced by Chad Johnson after allowing Plekanec's second goal of the game at 13:43 of the third.

"I'm sure he's frustrated," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said of Halak, a former Canadiens player. "It's not the outcome that he wanted but we didn't play very well in front of him."

Kyle Okposo, who had his first four-goal game in a 6-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, scored his 14th goal at 10:52 of the second period.

John Tavares scored his 20th goal, and Nikolay Kulemin and Anders Lee scored for New York (30-14-1), which had a four-game winning streak end.

The Islanders are 6-2-0 in the second of back-to-back games.

"We mismanaged the puck," Capuano said. "I talked about 17 giveaways after two periods; you're not going to win many hockey games like that, especially (against) a quick team like that that comes in transition with the defense that they have, you know, you've got to make it a 200-foot game. We made it a short track for them tonight. We made it a half-court game and you're not going to win like that."

The Canadiens played their third game in four nights, including a 4-1 loss at the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

"We knew with a team that's played a lot of hockey of late, we had to jump on them early," Subban said. "If you look at the Ottawa game, that's what they did to us. They knew we had played the night before and they wanted to get on us early. That's what we did tonight."

Plekanec had his first four-point game since Nov. 13, 2010. He scored the Canadiens' second power-play goal at 14:16 of the second period to give Montreal a 3-1 lead.

Plekanec assisted on Subban's power-play goal at 1:56 of the first period and set up Weise's goal that increased Montreal's lead to 2-0.

Plekanec scored his first goal on a one-timer from the right side on a pass from defenseman Andrei Markov six seconds after Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic was penalized for hooking.

Desharnais made it 5-2 with an unassisted goal at 11:16.

Subban scored the first of Montreal's two power-play goals with a one-timer from above the left faceoff dot after Markov faked a shot from the slot and passed. The Canadiens have scored five power-play goals in their past three games.

"We have a bunch of different looks," Plekanec said. "We worked on it a lot lately. It was a big topic, obviously, here for us and we worked a lot on it. We talked with the coaches, the players, and finally we're getting the looks that we really want to. The big thing for us is the screeners. Every goal we've scored lately, there was a [heck] of a job by the guys that were right in front of the goalie and the crease."

Weise drove to the net to tip Plekanec's centering pass past Halak for his sixth goal. It was his 16th point in 41 games, matching his career-high set last season when he played 61 games with the Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks.

"Sometimes teams play better on the back-to-back, but we're a tough team to handle," Weise said. "When four lines are playing that fast, there are not many teams that can skate with us."

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