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Salo, Isles Blank Canadiens


Aside from goaltender Tommy Salo, the New York Islanders are spreading the glory around these days.

Thursday night, it was Mariusz Czerkawski's turn as his first two goals of the season helped carry New York to a 4-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

"He's been skating well," Islanders associate coach Lorne Henning said. "He's had lots of chances and missed the net. He's a streaky scorer, so we hope he keeps it going."

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    Forum: What's gotten into to Tommy Salo?

  • The Islanders evened their record to 8-8-0 and moved into first place in the Atlantic Division with New Jersey and Pittsburgh.

    Salo made 21 saves for his league-leading fourth shutout. Salo is also tied with Detroit's Chris Osgood for the league lead in wins with eight.

    "I feel more confident when I play a lot," said Salo, who has started all 16 games for the Islanders. "I'd love to play all 82 (games)."

    The Islanders broke a scoreless tie with 95 seconds left in the first. Defenseman Barry Richter moved in from the left point, took a pass-out from behind the net from Jason Dawe and flipped a backhander over Joceyln Thibault's shoulder.

    "I was just sort of right there," Richter said. "I'm more concerned about playing a strong defensive game, though it feels good."

    The goal seemed to deflate the Canadiens, who came out flat in the second period and gave up goals to Czerkawski 4:03 apart. He put New York up 2-0 at 4:53 on a wrist shot from the right circle and at 8:56, he sent a backhander etween Thibault's legs with New York on a power play.

    "We didn't score the first goal, and it seems like we change our game when that happens," Montreal forward Vincent Damphousse said. "We have trouble scoring right now, and it seems like our confidence is low when we're behind. We're getting into our old mold of undisciplined hockey."

    Robert Reichel scored his fourth goal 13 seconds into the third. With a sweeping motion, he knocked the puck away from defenseman Patrice Brisebois and between Thibault's pads.

    Montreal suffered back-to-back shutouts after losing Wednesday night to New Jersey.

    Thibault, who started for the first time in five games, stopped 21 shots. Montreal coach Alain Vigneault was frustrated at his team's lack of confidence.

    "We seem fragile as soon as things don't go the right way," Vigneault said. "We have to make ways to fight through (that). The players have to find a way to get their game in order. It's a mental frame of mind to come here and compete."

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