Montreal wins again; Isles' streak snaps

MONTREAL (AP) -- Michael Ryder and the Montreal Canadiens entered
the All-Star break on a high note.

Ryder, the NHL's leading rookie scorer, got the winning goal
midway into the third period, extending Montreal's winning streak
to three with a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday

Ryder, selected to play in Saturday's YoungStars game during
All-Star weekend in St. Paul, Minn., took Saku Koivu's pass and
scored his 15th goal with a shot from the right side that went in
off goaltender Garth Snow's glove.

"It was a great pass by Saku and I just wanted to get to the
net and I managed to squeak it in," Ryder said. "It's good to end
on a note like that."

Ryder leads all NHL rookies with 39 points, three more than the
Islanders' Trent Hunter, who will be his teammate Saturday.

"It should be a good weekend," Ryder said. "I'll just enjoy
the whole experience; and going in with a three-game winning
streak, I'll just enjoy it a little more."

Mike Ribeiro scored for the third straight game and Jose Theodore made 27 saves for Montreal, which won four of five before the break.

Justin Papineau scored a power-play goal for New York, which
lost in regulation for the first time in seven games (4-1-1-1).
Snow stopped 36 of 38 shots.

"I thought we controlled most of the play in the second period,
and we had our chances, there's no question about it," Islanders
center Jason Blake said. "Jose played well tonight, and we didn't
get a second one by him."

The Canadiens, seventh overall in the Eastern Conference with 64
points, opened a five-point lead over the eighth-place Islanders.

"It was a great effort from everyone," Canadiens defenseman
Sheldon Souray said. "It was a good team win."

Souray, who leads all NHL defensemen in goals with 15 and will
make his first All-Star appearance Sunday, got his 20th assist on
Ribeiro's power-play goal in the first period. He'd never had more
than 11 points in a season.

Each team converted its first man-advantage opportunity.

Ribeiro opened the scoring with his 15th of the season. With
Islanders center Dave Scatchard off for hooking, Ribeiro banked a
shot from behind the goal line into the net off the back of Snow's

"Yeah, I meant to do that," Ribeiro said. "I think Snow
thought I was going around the net, and I knew he was going away
from his post so I tried to bank it off him, and it worked."

New York drew even when Papineau converted an opportunity 45
seconds into a double minor to Montreal's Richard Zednik for
high-sticking Oleg Kvasha.

The Islanders kept it tied with a scoreless second period
despite drawing three straight minors, which kept them short-handed
for 5:41 of the final 6:27 of the period.

"They threw everything at the net, and I was just fortunate
enough to get my blocker on a couple of the shots from Souray,"
Snow said. "But you know, 1-1 going into the third, we would have
taken that going into the game."

Game notes
The Islanders failed to register a point for just the
second time in 11 games (6-2-2-1). ... Canadiens D Craig Rivet
missed the game because of a right foot injury. Rivet, who had
X-rays earlier in the day, was struck on the foot in practice
Monday by a shot by teammate Pierre Dagenais.