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Islanders Down Canadiens

It was a bad night all round for the Montreal Canadiens: they lost the game and their goaltender.

To make matters worse, the winning goal for the New York Islanders came from Gino Odjick, who is not known for his scoring prowess.

It all added up to a dispiriting 4-2 loss to the Islanders on Monday night.

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  • It was Odjick who broke a 2-2 tie with his first goal in nearly a year with less than five minutes left in the third period.

    He tipped Kenny Jonsson's slap shot from the left point past goalie Jose Theodore, who came into the game in the second period after starter Jeff Hackett was hurt in a collision at the side boards.

    "Any time I'm on the ice, I go to the net and I just close my eyes," said Odjick, who hadn't scored since last Nov. 21 at Nashville.

    "I'm getting a lot of chances to play this year because I'm playing with discipline."

    Mariusz Czerkawski had a goal and two assists to lead the Islanders. Brad Isbister and Mats Lindgren also scored for New York.

    Brian Savage scored his eighth goal of the season to tie San Jose's Owen Nolan for the league lead, and Saku Koivu also scored for Montreal.

    The Canadiens lost Hackett 7:31 into the second period when he skated to the boards to chase a loose puck. Hackett, who had stopped all eight shots he had faced to that point, was sent flying backwards to the ice after colliding with New York forward Steve Webb.

    Hackett is listed as day-to-day.

    "He's a very aggressive goaltender," Savage said. "You see it when he tries to move the puck up to the forwards after he makes a save."

    "I don't know what he was doing in this situation but I suspect he thought there was an opening there."

    Hackett lay on the ice for several minutes and had to be assisted off. He suffered a bruised shoulder and back spasms.

    Canadiens coach Alain Vigneault was satisfied Webb wasn't deliberately targeting his star goalie.

    "It wasn't a cheap hit," Vigneault said. "It was simply two guys going for the puck."

    But the loss of Hackett did seem to affect the Canadiens, who were leading 1-0 at the time.

    "It took Montreal out of the game," said Islanders coach Butch Goring.

    The Islanders, who didn't get their first shot until nearly 15 minutes into the opening period, scored twice on the first four shots taken at Theodore in the second.

    Czerkawski took a pass from Isbister at the side of the Canadiens net for a power-play goal at 8:42. Isbister then gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead when he beat Theodore on a breakaway at 15:08.

    Montreal did battle back.

    Koivu scored his first of the season to tie the game 2-2 on a slap shot from the slot at 7:29 of the third.

    But Odjick helped give the Islanders just their second win of the season.

    "We have to find a way to hold on to games like that," said Canadiens defenseman Eric Weinrich. "We were in a similar situation like that last week in Philly when it was 4-4 and we won the game in overtime. Today, when it was tied 2-2, we played an entirely different style."

    Montreal was denied a 2-0 lead 12:44 into the first period when referee Brian Murphy went to a video replay to determine that Dainius Zubrus had kicked the puck into the Islanders' net.

    "In the first 15 minutes, we weren't in the game," said Goring. "We got our momentum going later."

    "Our team found that the Canadiens came out with a lot of confidence. They got us back on our heels."

    Islanders defenseman Rich Pilon left the game early in the second with a sprained left knee after he was hipchecked into the boards in front of the Canadiens' bench by Zubrus.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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