MONTREAL – Marc-Andre Bergeron had used his big shot to score goals from the point before, but his first as a member of the Montreal Canadiens was something entirely different.
The Trois-Rivieres, Que., native hammered in a power-play goal in the first period and assisted on another in the third as the Canadiens posted their first victory in regulation time this season, 5-1 over the listless New York Islanders on Thursday night.
“To get that goal for the Canadiens, with the reaction of the crowd, let’s just say it was a little louder than I’m used to,” said Bergeron, a power play specialist who was signed as a free agent on Oct. 6 after top defenceman and point man Andrei Markov suffered a serious foot injury that will keep him out for up to four months.
Scott Gomez and Mike Cammalleri scored their second of the season while Max Pacioretty and Maxim Lapierre got their first for Montreal (4-5-0), which won twice previously in overtime and had a 2-1 shootout win Tuesday night against Atlanta.
The 29-year-old Bergeron, a former Islander who began his career in 2002 with Edmonton, was called up this week after a conditioning stint with AHL Hamilton and was playing only his second game for Montreal.
“I feel better and better,” he said. “The last game was good too. You can’t judge a power play only on goals. We had a lot of chances in both games.”
Jaroslav Halak started the Canadiens’ last two games in place of inconsistent No. 1 goalie Carey Price and won both, but coach Jacques Martin would not say if he will be in goal again when the New York Rangers visit on Saturday night. The Canadiens end a six-game homestand when the Islanders visit against next Tuesday.
Josh Bailey scored for New York (1-4-3), which was playing a second game in as many nights and was coming off its first win of the season – 4-3 in a shootout over the Carolina Hurricanes. But they looked to have left their legs at home.
It was also a first game in Montreal for Islanders rookie John Tavares since he was taken first in the draft at the Bell Centre in June, but like most of his teammates he had a quiet game.
“When our legs don’t have anything and our heads don’t have anything, this happens,” said Islanders coach Scott Gordon. “After two periods, we had 20 turnovers.
“We were a pretty easy team to play against.”
The Canadiens dominated the opening period, taking a 2-0 lead and firing 15 shots on Martin Biron. They outshot the Isles 43-22 overall.
“You want to build on a game like (Wednesday) night and we didn’t come out hard,” said Biron, who was perhaps their best player. “Giving up 30 shots in the first two periods is not how to play.
“We took pride in playing good defence our first seven games, but it just wasn’t there tonight.”
Jaroslav Spacek kept a puck in at the blue-line and his high pass when off Radek Martinek’s hand to Gomez for quick shot to open the scoring at 7:55.
Montreal was on a power play when Bergeron scored on a low cannon blast from the point at 18:36.
Glen Metropolit fed Pacioretty in front for a spin-around shot that got between Biron’s pads 3:34 into the second period.
Montreal was on a power play when Halak misplayed the puck behind his net and Bailey stole it and scored short-handed into a vacated net 54 seconds into the third frame.
Bergeron picked up an assist as Cammalleri banked a tight-angled shot in off Biron’s pad on a power play at 10:35. Lapierre scored from the goalmouth after an Islanders give-away at their own blue-line at 12:59.
Checking centre Metropolit returned after missing six games with a rib injury and had two assists, to give him four points in three games. The well-travelled centre was named first star of the game.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had that before – maybe once when I was with Washington,” said Metropolit, who also got to play on the second power play unit.
“I’ve played power play before, but my role has changed over the years. But it was good to be back there. I’m just trying to make room on the ice in front of the net. And Bergeron’s shot back there opens things up.”
Notes: Islanders veteran Doug Weight stayed home with flu symptoms. . . Bruno Gervais and Jon Sim did not dress. . . Montreal sat out enforcer Georges Laraque for the first time this season, as well as Greg Stewart.