CANADIENS (14-4-2) at ISLANDERS (10-6-3)
TV: RDS, SNE, MSG+
NEW YORK -- Goaltender Carey Price will start for the first time in three weeks for the Montreal Canadiens when they play the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Friday.
Price, missed the past nine games with a lower-body injury. The Canadiens announced he would start Friday after a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. Rookie goalie Mike Condon made all nine starts in Price's absence. Price last played Oct. 29, allowing four goals in a 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
"Who's that?" Islanders coach Jack Capuano said jokingly when asked about facing Price. "There's so many good goaltenders in this League that you've got to be at your best every night. We know what [Price] is about. We've watched him play quite a bit so it's a challenge for us, but hopefully our guys can continue to get pucks and bodies to the net."
Price is 7-2-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage and two shutouts for Montreal.
"When you have the best player on your team coming back, it's always a big boost for any team," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said before the game. "I thought [Price] looked sharp during the practice. ... A quality goalie like Carey, we are expecting he's going to have an impact on our team."
The Islanders lost to the Canadiens 4-1 on Nov. 5 in Montreal, but didn't face Price.
"He's a good goalie but we can't stray away from anything," Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk said after the morning skate. "You have to do the same thing to every goalie and try to get in front of him and get him to not see the puck, and when you get a chance to bury it you have to do it. He's played exceptionally well throughout his career and I'm pretty sure he will continue to do so."
New York has won two straight games and looks for its first three-game winning streak since winning four in a row from Oct. 12-20. Montreal began the season 9-0-0 but has won five of 11 games since.
"It's a big back-to-back game for both teams and it's a good challenge for us to see where we are at," Boychuk said. "For us, it will be a good test."
Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic will play for the first time since his request for a trade because of personal reasons became public Wednesday. The St. Malo, Manitoba native has been with New York for six seasons since being selected in the second round (No. 53) of the 2008 NHL Draft. He leads the team in total ice time (443:26) and ice time per game (23:20).
"Travis has always been a team guy so, we'll try to accommodate him but at the same time, we can't lose site that we have to think of the New York Islanders as well," Capuano said.
Here are the projected lineups:
Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher
Lars Eller - Alex Galchenyuk - Alexander Semin
Tomas Fleischmann - David Desharnais - Dale Weise
Devante Smith-Pelly - Brian Flynn - Paul Byron
Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu - Jeff Petry
Tom Gilbert - Greg Pateryn
Injured: Alexei Emelin (lower body), Torrey Mitchell (lower body)
Scratched: Jarred Tinordi
Brock Nelson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Anders Lee - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey
Nikolay Kulemin - Mikhail Grabovski - Steve Bernier
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy - Travis Hamonic
Calvin de Haan - Johnny Boychuk
Brian Strait - Marek Zidlicky
Injured: Eric Boulton (lower body), Thomas Hickey (lower body)
Scratched: Taylor Beck, Jean-Francois Berube, Adam Pelech
Status report: Goalie Dustin Tokarski was sent to St. John's of the American Hockey League with Price's return. … Mitchell sustained a lower-body injury Thursday and did not accompany the team to New York. "He's not going to play this weekend," Therrien said. "He is going to [take] more tests with the doctors on Sunday and we will have a better evaluation of how long he was going to miss." With Mitchell out, Semin, who was a healthy scratch on Thursday, will be in the lineup. He had not dressed in eight of 10 games before Friday. ... Hickey, who hasn't played since Oct. 24 because of a lower-body injury, has resumed skating. "Things seem to be progressing really well for him. Hopefully over the next 48 hours, I will have a better update as we move forward into next week to know exactly what his status will be," Capuano said.
Who's hot: Pacioretty has a six-game point streak (three goals, five assists). … Subban is tied for second among defenseman with 16 points. Markov is tied for fourth with 14. … Okposo had three assists in a 5-2 win against the Coyotes on Monday and has five assists in three games.