Uniondale, NY – The Montreal Canadiens got some unexpected help from a team that had given them fits recently.
Brian Gionta ignited a third-period scoring spree that carried the Canadiens to a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Gionta snapped a 2-2 tie 48 seconds into the final frame, then rookie Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban scored goals separated by 33 seconds that the Islanders had put in their own net.
Subban also had a power-play tally in the second period and Michael Ryder scored with the man advantage as well for the Canadiens, who improved to 14-1-4 in their last 19 games.
Montreal had dropped three straight games to the Islanders, including a 6-3 setback on March 5 - the lone regulation loss during its impressive stretch.
Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais each had two assists for the Canadiens, who got a 25-save effort from Carey Price as well.
"We got lucky and we capitalized on a couple opportunities," Price said.
John Tavares and Lubomir Visnovsky supplied the goals for New York, which has given up a combined 10 third-period goals in its last three games.
"We got to go out there and show it for a full game," Tavares said. "It's not good enough and were not going to be successful unless we come together and understand that we need everyone going every night for a full 60 minutes."
Montreal native Kevin Poulin was beaten five times on 29 shots in his second start of the season for the Islanders.
The Canadiens moved in front early in the third period when Gionta tipped a shot/pass from Desharnais behind Poulin, who made his first start in the Islanders' net since Feb. 24.
Subban was credited with his second goal of the game at the 10:10 mark. With his head up, the Montreal defenseman fired a shot that ex-Hab Mark Streit unintentionally pushed across the goal line.
Another miscue led to a goal for Gallagher that gave the Canadiens a 5-2 lead.
Montreal opened the scoring for the 22nd time this season on a tally by Ryder at the 9:36 mark of the first period. With Streit off for cross-checking, Ryder beat Poulin with a wrister from the top of the left circle.
The Islanders answered less than three minutes later, as Tavares scored from deep on the left side.
Visnovsky later pounced on a loose puck just outside the crease and put it behind Price, giving New York a 2-1 lead at 6:58 of the second period.
Montreal pulled even on the power play, however, as Subban unleashed a one- timer from the point at 10:53 of the middle stanza.
The Islanders activated forward Michael Grabner and defenseman Matt Carkner from injured reserve, with both reinserted into the lineup for Thursday's game. Grabner returned after missing three contests with a shoulder issue, while Carkner had been sidelined since suffering a groin injury in practice on Feb. 6 ... Desharnais' assist on Gionta's goal gave him 100 career points ... New York forward Matt Moulson had two assists, extending his point streak to six games ... The Islanders fell to 1-12-1 when scoring two or fewer goals this season.