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Islanders' homestand continues against Canadiens

by Arpon Basu

CANADIENS (14-4-4) at ISLANDERS (9-11-2)


Last 10: Montreal 7-0-3; New York 5-4-1

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. The Islanders erased a 3-1 second-period deficit to defeat the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime on Feb. 21 in Montreal.

Big story: The Canadiens have gone 11straight games collecting at least a point (8-0-3), but one of the only teams that managed to beat Montreal in that span was the Islanders, who are looking to build off Sunday’s win against the Ottawa Senators.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: This will be Montreal’s second in a five-game road swing and injuries are starting to affect how coach Michel Therrien doles out his ice time. Defensemen Andrei Markov (27:03) and P.K. Subban (26:49) each established new season highs for ice time in Sunday night’s big 4-3 win in Boston. When Raphael Diaz was healthy, Therrien liked the balance on his three defense pairings and it was largely special teams that created the differences in the ice time given to each. But now he is appearing to lean heavier on his top guys, a group that also includes Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin.

Islanders: The last time the Islanders faced the Canadiens, they were hoping to break out of a slump that saw them lose seven of their previous nine games. That come-from-behind, overtime win in Montreal appears to have done that, with the Islanders going 3-2-1 in their last six dating back to that win. But the power play is a problem, going four straight games without scoring (0-for-11). The Islanders’ power play is truly strange in that it is clicking at a 16.4 percent rate at home, 23rd in the National Hockey League, but it’s a League-best 32.3 percent on the road. This game against the Canadiens is the fifth of a seven-game homestand.

Who's hot: For the Canadiens, it is all about Max Pacioretty right now, named the NHL’s First Star of the Week after posting four goals and three assists in four games. His center David Desharnais scored twice against Boston and has three goals and two assists in three games and the third member of that line, rookie right wing Brendan Gallagher, has a goal and four assists in three games. … For the Islanders, defenseman Mark Streit has points in his last two games and Andrew MacDonald has a goal and two assists in his last three.

Injury report: The Canadiens are missing Diaz and right wing Rene Bourque, both out with concussions, while center Petteri Nokelainen (lower body) still has not played this season. … The Islanders have defensemen Matt Carkner and Brian Strait listed on injured reserve. Forward Jesse Joensuu (lower body) is also out.

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