MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens welcome the New York Islanders to Bell Centre tonight in what amounts to a battle for last place in the Eastern Conference.
The Islanders (28-32-11) enter the game in 15th place in the conference, one point behind the Canadiens (28-32-12), who have played one more game.
Montreal is on a bit of a hot streak of late with a 3-0-2 record in its last five games after a 2-1 overtime loss Friday night in Ottawa. The Islanders, on the other hand, have been in free fall with a 0-3-2 record in their last five games and just two wins in their past 10.
The Canadiens did not skate Saturday morning, so it is unknown if defensemen Tomas Kaberle and Andrei Markov will be able to play after both missed Friday night with upper-body injuries. Kaberle had missed Montreal’s previous game to attend the birth of his son, while coach Randy Cunneyworth had expressed reservations about playing Markov on back-to-back nights so soon after his long-awaited return from knee surgery before he was declared out in Ottawa.
Scott Gomez remains out with a suspected concussion.
The Islanders will be missing defenseman Steve Staios, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Here are the expected lineups for tonight:
Matt Moulson – John Tavares – Kyle Okposo
Josh Bailey – Frans Nielsen – PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner – Casey Cizikas – David Ullstrom
Nido Niederreiter – Marty Reasoner – Matt Martin
Mark Streit – Dylan Reese
Travis Hamonic – Andrew MacDonald
Milan Jurcina – Mark Eaton
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Erik Cole
Rene Bourque – Tomas Plekanec – Ryan White
Mike Blunden – Lars Eller – Louis Leblanc
Brad Staubitz – Petteri Nokelainen
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Alexei Emelin
Tomas Kaberle – Chris Campoli