MONTREAL (AP) — Antti Niemi and Charlie Lindgren are giving the Montreal Canadiens solid goaltending with starter Carey Price out with a concussion.
Niemi made 27 saves, three on short-handed breakaways in the first period, in Montreal’s 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night. That followed AHL call-up Charlie Lindgren’s 33-save effort in a 1-0 shootout loss to Philadelphia on Monday night.
“I felt overall really good in practice and games for the last little while now and I’ll try to keep it going,” Niemi said.
He’s 4-1-1 in his last six starts.
Price, a Vezina and Hart trophy winner and 2014 Olympic gold medalist, has been out since taking a shot on the mask in a 3-2 overtime loss in Philadelphia on Feb. 20. Niemi and Lindgren have gone 2-0-2 in his absence, allowing only six goals between them.
Canadiens coach Claude Julien said Price will not accompany the team for the rematch in New York on Friday night.
Paul Bryon, Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Scherbak scored to help the Canadiens extend their points streak to five games (2-0-3).
Mathew Barzal scored his 18th of the season for the Islanders. They are winless in last four games and 4-8-2 in their last 14.
It was wide open in the first period, with the teams trading chances and each coming up with a goal. The highlight was the Islanders getting three breakaways while killing a penalty, although they failed to score on them.
Barzal took a pass at the Montreal blue line, blew past rookie defenseman Noah Juulsen and beat Niemi with a deke to the backhand at 3:50. Bryan tied it with 8:58 left in the period, beating Jaroslav Halak to the top corner off an assist from Drouin.
Drouin gave the Canadiens the lead on a power play at 8:29 of the second. He moved into the left circle to take a feed from Jeff Petry and put a shot inside the far post.
“I need to be better for the guys right now,” Halak said. “We need every point. That second goal shouldn’t go in. We had some chances on our side, we just didn’t hit the net or they blocked shots. We need to find a way. It starts with me.”
Scherbak scored with 6:23 to go in the period.
NOTES: Newly acquired defenseman Mike Reilly made his Canadiens debut. … The Islanders used their two trade deadline acquisitions — defenseman Brandon Davidson and forward Chris Wagner.
The teams meet again Friday night in Brooklyn.