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Bidding farewell to Barclays Center

The Canadiens would like their final visit to Brooklyn to be a successful one

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

BROOKLYN - The Canadiens will be playing their sixth and final game at Barclays Center on Tuesday night.

Last week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the Islanders would return to Long Island beginning next season and call Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum home on a full-time basis until a brand new rink at Belmont Park is ready for the 2021-22 campaign.

That suits Brendan Gallagher just fine. He isn't going to miss the Brooklyn-based facility one bit.

"Just the quality of the ice isn't very good. You've got to play the game, same for both teams, but when you play at Nassau, it's a better environment," stated Gallagher, following the morning skate. "Whatever it is, the fans kind of create a better atmosphere to be a part of and the quality of the ice surface is better, so I enjoy the other one."

Video: Brendan Gallagher on playing at Barclays Center

That being said, Montreal has enjoyed success in the building over the years. They boast a 4-1-0 record and have won their last two outings there.

The goal, of course, is to keep that same mojo going to begin an all-important three-game road trip that also includes games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers.

"We're going to enjoy it. It's our last game here. It'll be exciting," mentioned Phillip Danault. "I didn't really think about the future, but it'll interesting to play a last game at Barclays."

One Hab who'll actually miss playing on Atlantic Avenue is Max Domi.

"It's a nice rink," praised Domi, who netted a power-play goal when Julien's contingent last visited Barclays Center on November 5, 2018. "It's cool. Definitely good lighting. I like it."

Video: MTL@NYI: Domi wires PPG past Greiss from the circle

Tough contest ahead

Claude Julien's troops fully expect a hard-fought encounter on Tuesday night.

The Islanders are winless in their last three games, so they'll definitely be a hungry bunch in their own barn.

Any squad coached by Barry Trotz always presents a formidable challenge.

"They're well-structured. He's one of the coaches that plays man-to-man D-zone coverage. They're probably one of the better teams that plays man-on-man, so it's going to be important for us to really move the puck quick and get some movement in the offensive zone in order to break them down," explained Julien, who like Trotz has one Stanley Cup behind the bench on his resume.

Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference @ NYI

Julien also pointed out that Trotz's squad has played exceptionally good hockey at Barclays Center this season. They're 7-0-3 in the home of the NBA's New Jersey Nets.

"They're tough to beat. If you look at their record in Brooklyn, it isn't easy for visiting teams. We have to be ready," insisted Julien. "The last time we came here, we won a game. We played a great game last year from start to finish. But they don't give a lot."

Historically, the Islanders' numbers are also flattering at Barclays Center with a record of 85-47-21 in 153 regular-season games.

Some love for Paul

Since returning to the lineup on February 18, Paul Byron has registered two goals and five points.

But his offensive touch is just one aspect of his game that impresses those around him. 

He brings a lot more to the table than that playing with Domi and Jordan Weal.

"You see the impact he's had on Domes. He's such a good complementary piece. When you put him with these highly-talented players, it kind of takes a lot of little responsibilities away from them where they can just concentrate on doing what they always do," explained Gallagher. "He opens up a lot of space for Domes. The puck seems to be on his stick more, and the two of them work well together. They're two very fast players, so it seems to be working."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Paul Byron envoie une passe parfaite de Max Domi au fond du filet pour ouvrir la marque.Paul Byron buries a great feed from Max Domi to open the scoring.#GoHabsGo

The trio has spent the last three games together, and the results speak for themselves.

Domi has always been a huge Byron fan.

"He's a great player. He's fun to play with, and he has a lot of speed. He's a smart player," said Domi, who is looking to extend his point streak to six straight games on Tuesday night. "Jordan Weal complements that pretty well as well. We've just got to keep it up and keep getting better, every shift, every game."

Video: Max Domi on playing with Paul Byron and Jordan Weal

Julien gave the Byron-Domi-Weal combination his endorsement, too.

"That line has been really good, and Paul deserves a big part of that credit for his skating, his backchecking, and his backpressure. His speed just gives that line even more options," mentioned Julien. "Max is a guy who plays with a lot of intensity, and Jordan Weal is one of those guys that with the puck is going to be very creative. Those three together have seemed to mesh fairly well."

Quick hits

The Canadiens should have defenseman Jeff Petry in their lineup against the Islanders.

The 32-year-old veteran defenseman took a therapy day on Monday after receiving a hard shot off his foot against the Carolina Hurricanes over the weekend.

"He seemed o.k. I'm pretty sure we'll see him tonight, but nobody's come up to me and said he's definitely in," shared Julien. "He said to me he felt pretty good there."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: *pop*

As far as who'll be the odd man out on the blueline, that remains to be seen, too.

"We still don't know. We'll figure that out," added Julien. "I know Petry seems good, but there are other things to look at."

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