The Montreal Canadiens’ offense suddenly has gone cold following
the team’s recent surge, leaving coach Michel Therrien
A date with the slumping New York Islanders could help solve
Montreal looks to avoid a third straight defeat when it visits
New York on Saturday night.
The Canadiens (19-11-3) have followed a 9-0-1 stretch with
Tuesday’s 6-0 loss to Los Angeles and a 2-1 defeat at Philadelphia
on Thursday. They registered 32 non-shootout goals during their run
but have failed to generate much offensively over the last two.
Montreal finished with 21 shots against the Flyers.
“It will take a lot of intensity on offense to get ourselves out
of this hole,” Therrien said. “It’s been two games that I’ve been
noticing that we need to up our offense a notch.
“Our work ethic is what will get us through this stretch. We’re
not throwing enough pucks at the opposing team’s net.”
Alex Galchenyuk’s goal came with 56 seconds remaining in the
“For whatever reason, we just weren’t playing the way that we
were supposed to play in the first period,” defenseman Josh Gorges
said. “We got ourselves behind the eight ball. I thought as the
game went on we did play better, but it’s too tough in this league
to try and come from behind and scratch one out.”
Facing an Islanders team that ranks among the worst in the NHL
with 115 non-shootout goals allowed could help cure the Canadiens’
New York (9-19-5) has lost 11 of 12, giving up at least four
goals seven times in that stretch. It fell 6-3 to Phoenix on
Thursday to conclude a 1-4-0 road trip.
Captain John Tavares, Eric Boulton and Kyle Okposo scored.
“To give up six goals like that and leave our goalie out to dry
after making some big saves again is unacceptable,” said Tavares,
who has two goals and three assists over the last three. “We’re not
going to win too many hockey games if we’re getting back to habits
Coach Jack Capuano hopes New York can sort out its issues as it
tries to avoid a fifth straight home loss.
”We just couldn’t get in a rhythm, and for whatever reason we
tried to over-handle the puck,” Capuano said. “You’re not going to
have success in this league. Guys are too fast, too strong.”
Kevin Poulin made 31 saves, but he’s 1-7-0 with a 4.03
goals-against average over his last eight starts. The Islanders
could choose to start Evgeni Nabokov, who was activated from
injured reserve and backed up Poulin on Thursday.
Nabokov hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury against
Detroit on Nov. 16. He’s 7-3-0 with a 2.86 GAA in 11 career starts
against the Canadiens.
Galchenyuk and Lars Eller had a goal and two assists apiece, and
Carey Price made 24 saves in Montreal’s 4-2 win over the Islanders
on Nov. 10.
Price won seven straight starts before losing the last two,
posting a 2.14 GAA during that stretch. He’s 4-1-1 with a 2.98 GAA
in his last six starts against the Islanders.
Tavares has two goals and five assists during a four-game point
streak against the Canadiens after recording two assists in the
first meeting this season.