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Islanders-Canadiens Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: New York Islanders (33-32-5) at Montreal Canadiens (35-27-9).

TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Montreal Canadiens look to continue their playoff push - and dole out a little payback - when they welcome the New York Islanders to the Bell Centre.

With four wins in its last five games, Montreal has moved into a tie with New Jersey for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Both the Canadiens and Devils are two points behind defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay.

The only loss in that span was a 3-1 setback March 21 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

After posting consecutive wins over rival Toronto, the Canadiens avoided a season-series sweep at the hands of the Penguins with a 6-5 win Sunday.

Former Penguin Alexei Kovalev scored twice, and Michael Ryder netted what proved to be the game-winner with seven minutes to play as Montreal played its fifth game in seven days.

"We were a little tired but it was a big week for us," said Canadiens center Chris Higgins, who also scored twice. "When we looked at the schedule, we sat down as a team and decided we wanted to pick up as many points as we could because there's a lot riding on every game we play right now."

Higgins, a native of Smithtown on New York's Long Island, has three goals and two assists in a three-game points streak.

"We've got to be happy with the two points," Canadiens forward Radek Bonk said. "We had a lot of games (last) week and to get two points in the last game is huge."

New York - which has lost three straight and seven of eight in Montreal - is clinging to faint playoff hopes after a 5-1 victory Saturday over Atlanta. With 71 points, the Islanders are in 12th place, eight points behind Montreal and New Jersey but have a game in hand.

"Every game from here on out is a Game 7," said Islanders right wing Miroslav Satan, who had a goal and assist against Atlanta.

New York has dropped four in a row on the road and is in danger of matching its longest road losing streak set from Dec. 19-Jan. 10.

The Islanders are just 1-for-14 with the man advantage during their road losing skid.

STANDINGS: Islanders - 71 points, 4th place, 21 PB, Atlantic Division. Canadiens - 79 points, 3rd place, 23 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Satan, 29 goals; Alexei Yashin and Mike York, 36 assists; Yashin, 60 points; John Erskine, 119 PIM. Canadiens - Ryder, 28 goals; Saku Koivu, 38 assists; Kovalev, 56 points; Todd Simpson, 125 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Islanders - Power play: 17.1 percent (65 for 381), 21st in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.7 percent (329 for 418), 27th. Canadiens - Power play: 20.0 percent (80 for 400), 5th. Penalty killing: 80.7 percent (351 for 435), 23rd.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - Rick DiPietro (27-20-5, 0 SO, 3.09 GAA); Garth Snow (4-9-0, 0, 3.70). Canadiens - Cristobal Huet (14-8-4, 5, 2.21); David Aebischer (26-16-2, 3, 3.12).

SEASON SERIES: Canadiens, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: March 21; Islanders, 3-1. At Uniondale, N.Y., DiPietro stopped 36 shots and rookie Robert Nilsson's second-period goals proved to be the game-winner. Mark Streit scored a power-play goal for the Canadiens.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 15-18-3 on the road; Canadiens - 19-10-4 at home.

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