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Game Day - Islanders - Dec. 14

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- On Saturday morning, the Canadiens held an optional skate at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY ahead of their tilt against the Islanders. Fourteen skaters took part in the on-ice session along with both goaltenders.

- Nassau Coliseum hasn’t been kind to the Islanders of late, neither have rinks outside of Long Island, for that matter. Jack Capuano’s club has just one win in its last 10 games, and currently sits 15th in the Eastern conference with 23 points, the third-lowest point total in the NHL. While it’s been nearly one month since the Islanders earned a win on home ice, the Habs know better than to take any opponent for granted, most notably after dropping their last two games and being outscored by an 8-1 margin during that span.

“We want to come out hard, get right to it, set the tone, set the tempo of the game. The last couple of games we haven’t done that, and it shows. We definitely have to get back to that,” offered Brandon Prust, who has three goals and six points in 22 games thus far this season. “I think the main thing is kind of getting our swagger back. When we were winning, where we were rolling, we had a little swagger to us, we had a little cockiness. We’ve got to get that back, so right of the hop just get back to our guns, get in on the forecheck and play a hard, physical game.”

- The Islanders might be struggling as a team, but they boast one of the most potent offensive weapons in the NHL in John Tavares, who currently ranks fifth in the league with 37 points on the year. With 13 goals to his credit on the season, the Habs understand the importance of doing their utmost to try to shut Tavares down.

“He’s a special player. He’s one of the best players in the NHL, and you always have to pay particular attention to a player like that when he’s on the ice,” underlined head coach Michel Therrien on the subject of Tavares, who has registered 13 points in 16 career games against the Canadiens. “We’ll have to watch him closely, play him tight, and take away as much time and space as possible. I’m sure that I’m not the only coach who says that because good players always find a way to perform.”

- Therrien hasn’t yet decided whether he will make any changes to his lineup for Saturday night’s game. That decision will come later on today.

- Carey Price will make his 27th start of the season on Saturday night for the Canadiens. He will go in search of his 15th win of the year. Evgeni Nabokov will be between the pipes for the Islanders. The Russian netminder holds a 7-3-0 record and a 2.86 goals-against average in 11 career games against the bleu-blanc-rouge. Nabokov will be making his first start since being sidelined back on November 16 with a groin injury.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Words From The Room - December 14
Focus forward
One tough town

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