Isles Visit Montreal Looking To Break Losing Streak
The New York Islanders travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens in the last game of their four game road trip. The Islanders have lost all three games on this current road swing and really need to pick up these two points to salvage something out of this trip.
New York’s struggles haven’t been confined to the current trip. Despite beating a good Boston team at home last week, the Isles are 3-6-1 in their last ten. This has dropped them from second in the division to fifth, and they’ve fallen to 11th in the conference.
In this context, these two points loom a bit larger. And, the Islanders will have to earn the win without newly acquired Thomas Vanek who was hurt in last night’s loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
The extent of Vanek’s injury isn’t currently known, however, New York has ruled him out of tonight’s contest.
Another wrinkle for tonight’s game is backup goaltender Kevin Poulin, who will get the nod in net. This may not be a bad thing, however, as starting netminder Evgeni Nabokov played last night and he didn’t exactly stand on his head. Poulin has been playing great of late and he probably gives the Islanders a better chance tonight.
The Canadiens, who also sport a 3-6-1 record in their last ten, are not far ahead of the Isles, having earned only two more points than the Islanders. Like New York, they’re looking to snap a streak, albeit a “winless” one and not a losing one.
Montreal will be without Daniel Briere and Alexei Emelin. Both have returned to practice, but both are also a few days away from returning to the lineup. To bolster the lineup, the Canadiens have recalled Gabriel Dumont, who will be in the lineup tonight, and Greg Pateryn.
The Canadiens will be led, as always, by star defenseman P.K. Subban, who leads all Montreal skaters in scoring with 16 points in 17 games. The big question will be, who will be in between the pipes for Montreal. Starter Carey Price played Thursday, but might veteran Peter Budaj get the nod instead? With the team struggling, expect Price to get the start.
For the Islanders to snag the victory, they are going to have keep their defensive focus. The Isles have a team goals against of 3.18 goals per game. That is not the type of overall team defense that leads to championships.
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