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Morning Skate Updates: Islanders vs Canadiens

News, notes and quotes ahead of the Islanders' game vs Montreal

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are set to face off against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at 7 p.m. (MSG+; AM970 - The Answer, 88.7FM - WRHU, 103.9FM - LI News). Read the Game Preview here. Read Game Notes here.

The Lineup: 

Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier and Scott Mayfield are in for the Islanders. 

Thomas Hickey, Shane Prince and Stephen Gionta are out for Thursday's game. 

Weight said Hickey is day-to-day with a lower-body ailment, while Prince and Gionta are healthy scratches. Lee has recovered from his illness, while Beauvillier returns after sitting out Tuesday night with a minor injury. 

Thomas Greiss will start in goal. 

PROJECTED LINES:

FORWARDS
LEFT WING CENTER  RIGHT WING
ANDERS LEE JOHN TAVARES  JOSH BAILEY
ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER BROCK NELSON RYAN STROME
ANDREW LADD ALAN QUINE JASON CHIMERA
NIKOLAY KULEMIN CASEY CIZIKAS CAL CLUTTERBUCK
Watching The Standings: 

The Islanders have made a jump in the standings over the past week, moving up five spots from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. As of Thursday morning, the Islanders are five points out of the second Wild Card with three games in hand and they are aware of it - partly because Interim Head Coach Doug Weight is making them aware of it, posting the standings in the locker room. 

"It's important right now. What are you avoiding by talking about the obvious?," Weight said on Thursday. "It's in front of us, we have an uphill climb, we have to pass a lot of teams, but three points, four points come on. It's good. You don't have to beat it to death, put it up 20 minutes 30 minutes before our meetings and let's go to work."

Weight's philosophy is that teams out of a playoff spot should be looking at the standings every day for motivation. The inverse is true for teams at the top of the table, where complacency could set in. 

"Everyone knows where you stand, but when it's visually up there, it's motivating and we've been able to creep up a little bit here," Anders Lee said. "We can't get too far ahead of ourselves, there's plenty of hockey left, but we're determined, we're focused and we're confident right now."

John Tavares said it's just Weight's way of communicating, but the Islanders, who are 3-0-1 under Weight, are reacting positively to the message. 

"There should be a sense of urgency at this point in the season seeing how tight the East is and how crucial points are," Tavares said. "It just gives you a little extra sense of each and every game and how important it is and the teams we're battling with."

Canadiens Lineup Notes: 

David Desharnais and Alex Galchenyuk did not travel to Brooklyn, according to the Montreal Canadiens website. Andrei Markov is also injured and won't suit up against the Islanders. 

According to TSN's John Lu, the Canadiens will ice their same lineup from Tuesday night - a 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames. 

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