Preview: Islanders at Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens look to rebound from another frustrating defeat and snap an eight-game losing streak when they return home Tuesday night to take on the surging New York Islanders. The Canadiens, who are 0-5-3 during their slide, blanked red-hot Boston for 46-plus minutes Sunday before giving up three third-period goals in a span of 7:11 for a 3-1 road loss.
“It’s hard to try and find any confidence with what’s going on right now,” Montreal defenseman Shea Weber told reporters after the latest defeat. “But we’ve got to find a way somehow, one way or another. We’re the only ones that can dig ourselves out of this and we’ve got to find a way.” The Canadiens have taken at least a point in five of the last six meetings (4-1-1), but are going up an Islanders team which has registered at least a point in 19 of its last 21 outings (17-2-2). New York rebounded from a season-high three-game losing streak (0-2-1) by allowing one goal the last two contests after posting a 4-1 victory at Detroit on Monday night as forward Jordan Eberle scored twice to snap a five-game point drought. The Islanders, who are fourth in the league in goals allowed per game (2.36), look to improve on an 8-0-0 record against Atlantic Division opponents and continue to hunt down first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG Plus (New York), RDS, TSN2 (Montreal)
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (18-5-2): Mathew Barzal chipped in with an assist Monday to push his team-leading total to 23 points - three more than fellow center Brock Nelson - with a team-best plus-13 rating. Forward Anthony Beauvillier moved within one of Barzal for the team lead in goals with his ninth Monday and captain Anders Lee scored for the second consecutive contest after suffering through an 11-game drought. Goalie Thomas Greiss (10-2-0, 2.10 goals-against average, .931 save percentage), who left Saturday’s game with an illness, is expected to start against the Canadiens.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (11-10-6): Joel Armia scored the only goal Sunday, stretching his streak to three games with at least one and tying fellow right wing Brendan Gallagher for the team lead with 10. Tomas Tatar, who had two goals and two assists in three games before Sunday, leads the team with 24 points and Weber is a close second with 21 while goalie Carey Price (10-9-3) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). Defenseman Victor Mete (three goals, eight points, plus-6 rating) missed the game in Boston and was to be re-evaluated after suffering a lower-body injury against Philadelphia on Saturday.
1. New York D Ryan Pulock recorded a season-high three points Monday - all on assists - after going three games without one.
2. Montreal placed G Keith Kinkaid (1-1-3, 4.24 GAA, .875 SP) was placed on waivers Monday.
3. The Islanders converted on the power play once Monday, but are 1-for-16 with the man advantage the past five games.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 4, Islanders 3