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Surging Habs set to face reeling Islanders

by Brian Compton
CANADIENS (8-7-3) at ISLANDERS (4-8-3)


Last 10: Montreal 7-2-1; New York 1-6-3.

Season Series: This is the first of four meetings between the teams. Montreal went 2-1-1 against the Islanders in 2010-11.

Big Story: It's a tale of teams headed in opposite directions. Montreal continued its winning ways Wednesday night, as it improved to 7-2-1 in its last 10 with a 4-0 victory against Carolina. Meanwhile, the Islanders are in the midst of a November awfully similar to last season. They've won only once since Oct. 15 and enter Thursday's action 8 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: It certainly was an impressive victory for the Habs on Wednesday night, as they dominated the Hurricanes from start to finish at the Bell Centre. Carolina had only 5 shots on goal midway through the game and never really tested Carey Price, who recorded his 13th career shutout. The win helped the Canadiens move into a tie for eighth place in the East with New Jersey, which won at Buffalo on Wednesday.

"It was definitely not the hardest one," Price said of the shutout, "but kudos to the guys playing in front of me."

Islanders: The losses continue to pile up for the Isles, who put forth a decent performance on Tuesday night but still fell short in a 4-2 loss to the Rangers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders continue to experience difficulty scoring goals, as they've found the back of the net only 31 times in 15 games this season.

"I don't think we played a bad game … it could have gone both ways," center Frans Nielsen said. "(We) have to stop this bleeding now. (We) can't wait, or else it's going to look like last year. We don't want to be out of it by Christmas, so we got to turn it around right now."

Who's Hot: Tomas Plekanec has 4 assists in his last five games and leads the Canadiens with 16 points in 18 games, while Max Pacioretty has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last five contests. … Nielsen had a goal and an assist Tuesday night and has 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in his last five games.

Injury Report: Montreal played without Jaroslav Spacek (upper body) and Hal Gill (illness) on Wednesday night and neither is expected to play against the Isles. The Canadiens are also missing Andrei Kostitsyn (groin), Chris Campoli (hamstring), Andrei Markov (knee), Ryan White (groin) and Andreas Engqvist (lower body).

Stat Pack: Due to all their injuries on the blue line, P.K. Subban entered Wednesday's action as the second-most experienced defenseman for Montreal. He had just 96 career games on his resume. … The Islanders have converted only twice in their last 17 power-play opportunities. They are 9-for-50 overall.

Puck Drop: "It's frustrating. These are the ones you really have to learn from. (The win) was right there (for the taking). We had it. We made just one mistake and it ended up in our net. At the end of the day, we have to learn from that and now this one is put away. It's a bad feeling. This is a feeling we don't want anymore." -- Isles defenseman Travis Hamonic after Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Rangers
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