Hart called Harris a coward, and Arbour stood on the dasher at the Islanders' bench and gave the referee the choke sign. Mahovlich immediately returned to the ice, but while Hart was in the penalty box, Montreal capitalized on its power play for two goals and in the end won the game 4-1.
Potvin was one of the few Islanders who produced a strong effort and was named the game's No. 3 star. However, a Montreal newspaperman reported the next day that one of the Canadiens' goals had deflected into the net off Denis Potvin's inflated ego.
Three nights later the Islanders handily beat St. Louis 5-2, helping ease some of Potvin's woes, but Arbour's problems were still pressing as the Islanders prepared to play the Flyers. For one thing, the Islanders' power play, the best in the NHL with 92 goals a year ago, had disappeared or disintegrated; in fact, their penalty killers had scored almost as many goals (six) as the power players (seven). For another, New York's top line of Center Bryan Trottier and Wings Clark Gillies and Billy Harris was making more blunders per shift than it used to make per month. Trottier, last season's Rookie of the Year with a record 95 points, seemed to be regaining his style after missing several games with a knee injury. Gillies, though, was trying to play like a smooth Guy Lafleur, not a 6'3", 220-pound body bender, and Harris was alternately hesitant and overanxious as he floated around the ice.
The Trottier line fared poorly against the Flyers. So did the Islanders' defense. Bob Kelly put the Flyers ahead 1-0 when he deflected Jim Watson's shot past Glenn (Chico) Resch after the Islander defensemen twice failed to clear the puck out of the zone. Hart helped to get that goal back when he sent Bob Nystrom in alone on Parent for the tying score, but another mix-up among the Islanders in front of Resch led to Bobby Clarke's freebie goal for a 2-1 Philadelphia lead. Then Resch gave up a soft goal to Mel Bridgman as the Flyers took a 3-1 lead.
Parent, meanwhile, was frustrating the Islanders with his agile leg movements and quick glove. Sidelined almost all of last season because of a neck injury, he now seems to have regained the stinginess that helped carry Philadelphia to Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. But he had little chance to stop the two shots by Parise and Drouin, the latter on the long-lost power play, that finally produced the 3-3 tie for the Islanders, and silenced their critics, at least for now. Parent probably prevented a New York victory when he came out of his net in the closing moments and fielded a loose puck just as Eddie Westfall of the Islanders was ready to poke it past him.
No buts about it, Al.