NEW YORK ISLANDERS (7-3-3) VS. MONTREAL CANADIENS (11-2-1)
7:30 P.M. BELL CENTER, MSG+, CHANNEL FINDER, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM
Tavares In: John Tavares returns to the Islanders lineup tonight after missing three games with flu-like symptoms.
Halak in Goal: Jaroslav Halak will start in goal tonight for the Islanders.
Berube Backing Up: Quebec native, Jean-Francois Berube will back up Halak in Montreal.
1. John Tavares Practices: John Tavares was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice after being sidelined for three games with flu-like symptoms. The Islanders captain made the trip to Montreal, so he is an option to play, provided he feels good enough and gets the blessing of doctors and Jack Capuano. Tavares leads the Islanders with 11 points (5G, 6A) in 10 games this season. The Islanders were 1-1-1 without their captain, taking three of a possible six points. 2. Re-Energized:
Matt Martin called the Islanders' 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils the “most emotional game we played all year and it was exactly what we needed.” The win snapped a three-game winless streak.
3. Special Teams: Special Teams: The Islanders' penalty kill went 29-for-29 before conceding a goal against the New Jersey Devils. The power play had scored in five consecutive games before Sunday's game against the Buffalo Sabres, when the Islanders were not issued a power play. The Islanders penalty kill sits atop the league, while the power play is ranked third.
4. The Canadiens: Montreal is 11-2-1 this season with a league-best 23 points, 11 regulation/overtime wins and a +25 goal differential. Defenseman Andrei Markov leads the Habs with 13 points (1G, 12A), while Max Pacioretty and Dale Weise’s seven goals are tied for the team lead. All-Star defenseman P.K. Subban has 12 points (1G, 11A) this season.
5. Carey Price: Carey Price did not practice with the Canadiens Wednesday. The goaltender continues to rehab from a lower-body injury suffered against the Edmonton Oilers last week. Price, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top goalie, was 7-2-0 before his injury with a 2.01 goals against average, a .936 save percentage and two shutouts. Backup Mike Condon is 4-0-1 in five starts.