NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, December 26th (All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (20-13-2) at New York Islanders (8-18-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Islanders will aim for their first three-game winning streak in two months when they host the Montreal Canadiens tonight at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders are coming off consecutive wins against Tampa Bay and New Jersey and have won three of their last four games after starting December with six straight regulation losses. New York's only other three-game winning streak this season came from Oct. 16-21.
New York's most recent win came on the road Thursday night against the Devils, who were playing their first game since firing head coach John MacLean and replacing him on an interim basis with Jacques Lemaire.
The Islanders took advantage of the reeling Devils, pounding the home team by a 5-1 score. Josh Bailey registered two goals and an assist for the Islanders in just his second game since being recalled from the AHL. The 2008 first- round draft pick has five goals and four assists in 20 games for the Isles this season.
John Tavares, Frans Nielsen and Blake Comeau also tallied for New York, while Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves. The Isles converted on their only power-play opportunity of the game and were able to score five times despite firing just 14 shots on Martin Brodeur.
"We got doubled up in shots, but we found a way to win. Roloson played great for us," said New York head coach Jack Capuano.
Thursday's win halted the Islanders road losing streak at 12 games. New York is just 3-11-3 on the road and 5-7-3 on home ice this year.
Islanders forward Matt Moulson is questionable for tonight's test after leaving Thursday's game with what appears to be a head injury. Moulson was drilled by New Jersey's Anton Volchenkov on an open-ice hit early in the first period. He left the game and did not return.
New York should have forward Matt Martin back tonight, however, as his two- game suspension for a hit on Phoenix's Vernon Fiddler is over.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, were able to end a two-game losing streak in their last outing and will try to record consecutive wins tonight. Montreal hasn't notched victories in back-to-back games since a three-game winning streak from Dec. 2-7.
Montreal played Thursday evening at Carolina and the Habs claimed a 3-2 regulation win at the RBC Center. Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexandre Picard scored during an extended power play late in the second period, helping Montreal edge the Hurricanes.
Scott Gomez added a goal and an assist, while Jaroslav Spacek tallied a pair of helpers for the Canadiens, who won for the first time during a season-long, seven-game road trip. Montreal had lost five of its previous six, including the first two of its swing, but received 22 saves from Carey Price on Thursday.
The Canadiens, who won't play a home game until Jan. 2 against Atlanta, are 8-8-0 on the road this season.
Gomez has been playing his most productive hockey of the season lately and enters tonight with a five-game point streak. He has one goal and seven assists during the run, but still has just five goals and 17 points in 33 games this season. The veteran centerman has fared well in 61 career games against the Isles, recording 13 goals and 47 points in those outings.
Montreal swept a home-and-home series against the Islanders earlier this season, taking consecutive meetings on Oct. 27 and 29. The Canadiens have taken six of seven and 12 out of 15 in the series overall and they've also won seven of nine and eight of the last 11 encounters on Long Island.
12/26 10:30:33 ET