NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 9th (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (21-24-9) at New York Islanders (22-22-8), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to post their longest winning streak in over three months when they visit the New York Islanders tonight at Nassau Coliseum.
The Canadiens have recorded recent home wins over Winnipeg and Pittsburgh, but the club hasn't notched three victories in a row since a season-high four-game run from Oct. 26-Nov. 4.
Meanwhile, the Islanders have won three of four and have recorded a point in five straight (3-0-2). New York is currently nine points out of a playoff spot in the East and is just one point ahead of Montreal in the conference standings.
The Canadiens outlasted the visiting Penguins on Tuesday, as Tomas Plekanec scored in the eighth round of the shootout to help Montreal take a 3-2 decision at Bell Centre.
In the eighth round, Plekanec beat Marc-Andre Fleury to the glove side with a wrister and Carey Price sealed the win as he kept out a low forehand shot from Jason Williams.
"I thought we played well the whole game," said Plekanec. "We tried to shut them down. We were able to get two points. That's the most important thing."
Louis Leblanc and Lars Eller both scored in regulation for the Canadiens, who had grabbed a 2-1 lead early in the third period before allowing James Neal to tie it with his 28th goal of the year at the 7:32 mark of the stanza. Price made 32 stops in the win.
Montreal is just 10-13-2 as the visiting team this year and is beginning a brief two-game trip tonight. The Habs will also visit the rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
The Islanders also won a shootout decision Tuesday night in Philadelphia, as Frans Nielsen scored the winner in the second round in a 1-0 victory over the Flyers at Wachovia Center. All around, it was an exciting day for Nielsen, who earlier on Tuesday signed a new four-year contract with the Islanders.
But the real story for New York on Tuesday was the magnificent play of goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who stopped 45 shots through the 65 minutes of play for his second shutout of the season and 52nd of his career for the Islanders. Nabokov stopped both Flyers shooters in the shootout to get the win.
"When you look at the game, he made some huge saves for us," said New York head coach Jack Capuano. "Anytime you get goaltending like that, normally you win a hockey game and we did that tonight against a really good team."
John Tavares also scored in the decisive phase for the Isles on Tuesday.
The Islanders are hoping to get defenseman Milan Jurcina back tonight after he sat out the last three games with a lacerated elbow. New York will not have either defensemen Travis Hamonic (broken nose/facial lacerations) and Dylan Reese (knee), who will be out four-to-six weeks after suffering a sprained MCL against Philadelphia.
New York is kicking off a three-game homestand tonight and is 11-11-5 as the host this season. The Isles will also welcome Los Angeles and Florida during the residency.
The Isles had won three straight against Montreal before the Canadiens evened the season series at one game each with a 5-3 home win on Dec. 13. New York has won two in a row and three of the last four meetings on Long Island.
02/09 10:34:16 ET