After a stacked weekend against two of the Eastern conference’s best teams the Canadiens (14-4-4) are in New York next to face the Islanders (9-11-2) Tuesday night. The game starts at 7:00 and can be seen on RDS.
This is the second of three meetings between the Habs and the Isles. The last time these teams met the Islanders came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime. Matt Moulson scored twice for Long Island and Thomas Hickey scored his first NHL goal, the overtime winner, in that contest. The loss was one of just three the Canadiens have suffered in their last 11 games, and like all the other losses during that span, the Habs still earned a point.
What to Watch:
Max Pacioretty was named the NHL’s First Star of the week for his outstanding performances during the last four games. Patches had 4 goals and 3 assists last week bringing him up to 20 points in 18 games this season. And if Pacioretty is going strong, you can bet David Desharnais is not far behind. DD scored twice against the Bruins Sunday, including the game winner, he now has 5 points in his last 3 games.
The duo of Matt Moulson and John Tavares is still the most dangerous combination for the Islanders, together they have 23 of Long Island’s 62 goals. But the pair have struggled recently, Moulson has just a single assist in the past three games and Tavares has been kept off the scoresheet entirely, although he did score a shootout clinching goal Sunday against the Islander.
What’s at Stake:
After their victory over the Bruins on Sunday the Canadiens once again have first place in the Eastern Conference all to themselves, but that doesn’t mean the Habs can rest on their laurels. The Bruins still have three games in hand on Montreal so Les Boys will need to keep on earning points if they want to maintain their advantage.
The Canadiens are missing Rene Bourque (concussion) and Raphael Diaz (concussion) as well as Petteri Nokelainen (back).
John Tavares missed practice Monday for the Isles with a cold, but should be healthy enough to play on Tuesday. The Islanders are without Matt Carkner (lower body), Brian Strait (ankle) and Jesse Joensuu (lower body).
The Canadiens are in the midst of a 5-game road trip, their longest of the season. After Tuesday night the team heads down the coast to Carolina followed by a visit to Tampa Bay and finally South Florida to face the Panthers. Conversely, the Islanders are in the midst of a 7-game homestand, also their longest stretch of games at home.
Currently the Habs hold a 10-0-2 record against teams outside their division, losing in overtime on Saturday to the Penguins and dropping an overtime decision to the Isles in February.
Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren.