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Game Preview: Islanders at Canadiens

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

ISLANDERS (30-13-1) at CANADIENS (27-13-3)

TV: SN, TVA SPORTS, MSG+

Season series: Carey Price made 37 saves for the Montreal Canadiens in a 3-1 win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 23, in the final game before the Christmas break. Andrei Markov, Brendan Gallagher and David Desharnais scored for Montreal after Kyle Okposo gave New York an early lead.

Islanders team scope: Okposo had one goal in nine games since scoring against Montreal until he had a career-high four goals Friday to help the Islanders rally for a 6-3 home victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Okposo's linemates, John Tavares and Josh Bailey, each had three assists, giving the top line a 10-point night. The Islanders trailed 2-0 and 3-2 before scoring four times in the third period. "We've had that [never-say-die] mentality all year," Okposo said. "We've given up the first goal a little more than we would have liked, but I thought we responded well, especially in the third period." Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves in his 24th victory, and coach Jack Capuano said he would decide Saturday whether to play Halak, a former Canadiens player, or backup Chad Johnson.

Canadiens team scope: Montreal, which didn't skate Friday, is 1-2-1 in its past four games, including a 4-1 road loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. Backup goaltender Dustin Tokarski played against Ottawa after Price sustained an upper-body injury in a collision during a 3-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Price is day-to-day, and the Canadiens recalled former Islanders goalie Joey MacDonald from Hamilton of the American Hockey League as the likely backup to Tokarski. Forward Max Pacioretty has a goal in each of his past six games.

New York Islanders
30-13-1 (61 points – 1st in Metropolitan Division, 1st in Eastern Conference)
15-9-1 road
Montreal Canadiens
27-13-3 (57 points - 2nd in Atlantic Division, T-4th in Eastern Conference)
13-5-2 home
7:00  p.m.
Centre Bell
Montreal, QC

Television:
MSG+
Play-by-play: Howie Rose
; Color: Butch Goring
Channel Finder

Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King
Islanders News:
- Islanders 6, Penguins 3 (Jan. 15)
- Isles TV: Bailey; Capuano; Okposo; Strome
- Taught by Trots (Jan. 15)
- Islanders TV: Bryan Trottier (Jan. 15)
- 2015 Lighthouse Tournament: Day 3 (Jan. 15)

Islanders player to watch
Kyle Okposo - Forward

The 26-year-old forward scored not only his first career hat trick in Friday's 6-3 win over Pittsburgh, but also his first career four-goal game. Okposo’s third goal of the night broke a 3-3 tie with 8:09 remaining in the third period. Okposo also scored in the only prior Isles game against Montreal this season back on Dec. 23.
Canadiens player to watch
P.K. Subban - Defenseman

P.K. Subban leads all Canadiens defensemen with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 43 games this season. Subban’s vicious one-timer, big hits and smooth skating make him one of the NHL’s most exciting players. The Habs blueliner is tied for ninth in overall scoring amongst NHL defensemen.
New York Islanders previous game lines
Forwards
12 Josh Bailey 91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
27 Anders Lee51 Frans Nielsen18 Ryan Strome
40 Michael Grabner
29 Brock Nelson
86 Nikolay Kulemin
17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Defensemen

2 Nick Leddy 55 Johnny Boychuk
44 Calvin de Haan
3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey – 37 Brian Strait

Goaltenders
41 Jaroslav Halak
30 Chad Johnson
Montreal Canadiens previous game lines
Forwards
67 Max Pacioretty - 14 Tomas Plekanec - 11 Brendan Gallagher
51 David Desharnais - 27 Alex Galchenyuk - 15 P.A. Parenteau
49 Michael Bournival - 81 Lars Eller - 26 Jiri Sekac
8 Brandon Prust - 20 Manny Malhotra - 22 Dale Weise

Defensemen:
79 Andrei Markov - 76 PK Subban
28 Nathan Beaulieu - 55 Sergei Gonchar
74 Alexei Emelin - 77 Tom Gilbert

Goaltenders:
31 Carey Price
35 Dustin Tokarski


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