Canadiens-Islanders Preview

While the Montreal Canadiens continue to make strides in the

right direction, the New York Islanders are still struggling to

find something positive to build on during their extended rough

stretch.

The Canadiens look to extend their recent success while trying

to hand the Islanders a fifth consecutive loss Thursday night at

Nassau Coliseum.

Montreal (8-7-3) won Wednesday for the seventh time in 10 games

following a six-game skid, beating Carolina 4-0. Carey Price

stopped 25 shots for his first shutout since last season’s

playoffs, while defenseman P.K. Subban had a goal with an assist

and Tomas Plekanec added two assists to help the Canadiens record a

point in their fourth straight game.

“It was a solid effort all the way through,” captain Brian

Gionta said. “We were doing the right things.”

The Canadiens have done well while killing off all 18 of their

opponents’ power plays over the last five games. The Hurricanes

went 0 for 6 on Wednesday.

In addition to his solid defensive work, Subban has five points

in his last five games after totaling three in his previous 13

contests. He assisted on Travis Moen’s sixth goal Wednesday as Moen

matched his goal output from last season, when he played in 79

games.

Though Price has allowed four goals in each game while splitting

his previous two starts on Long Island, he could be in net for this

back-to-back scenario after posting his 13th career shutout.

Montreal is 12-1-4 in its last 17 meetings with New York, but

the Islanders won the final two last season, including 4-1 at

Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 26.

New York (4-8-3) hopes to recapture some of that success against

the Canadiens as it tries to break out of a 1-7-3 stretch that

followed a three-game winning streak.

“It’s frustrating,” said Islanders coach Jack Capuano, whose

team is 0-3-1 since a 5-3 win over Washington on Nov. 5.

The Islanders’ frustration grew after they fell 4-2 to the rival

New York Rangers on Tuesday. Matt Moulson tied the game early in

the third period, but Brad Richards scored the winner with 4:55

remaining and Ryan Callahan added an empty-netter for the

Rangers.

“These are the ones you really have to learn from,” defenseman

Travis Hamonic told the Islanders’ official website. “(The win) was

right there (for the taking). We had it. We made just one mistake

and it ended up in our net.

“At the end of the day we have to learn from that and now this

one is put away. It’s a bad feeling. This is a feeling we don’t

want anymore.”

Frans Nielsen had a goal with an assist for the Eastern

Conference-worst Islanders, who have been outscored 18-8 over the

last four games, including 9-1 in the third period during that

stretch.

Star forward John Tavares had an assist Tuesday, giving him 11

points – seven goals – in nine home games. He had two goals and an

assist in four games against the Canadiens in 2010-11, although he

was a minus-5.

Evgeni Nabokov could make a third consecutive start after he

made 26 saves against the Rangers. The veteran netminder is 5-2-0

with a 2.87 goals-against average versus Montreal.

Plekanec, who leads the Canadiens with 12 assists to go with

four goals, has a goal in five consecutive games against the

Islanders and a point in eight straight.