NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 13th (All times eastern)
New York Islanders (34-24-10) at Montreal Canadiens (34-30-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Islanders play their first game since the Chris Simon suspension was handed down when they visit the Montreal Canadiens tonight at the Bell Centre.
Simon has been suspended for the rest of the regular season and the duration of the playoffs for his actions in a game against the New York Rangers on March 8. The Isles' forward was sanctioned by the league for using his stick as a weapon and delivering a vicious two-handed chop to the face of Rangers center Ryan Hollweg.
The 35-year-old Simon has been given a minimum 25-game suspension, meaning he would have to sit out games at the start of next season should the Islanders miss the playoffs or get knocked out early. If New York goes deep into the postseason, the ban could be considerably longer than 25 contests.
The Islanders are currently in the Eastern Conference playoff picture as the seventh seed. They have 78 points on the year and are two ahead of the rival Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes, who are tied for the eighth spot.
New York is coming off Saturday's home victory over the Washington Capitals. Jason Blake scored twice to lead the Islanders to the easy 5-2 triumph at Nassau Coliseum.
Mike Sillinger, Andy Hilbert and Marc-Andre Bergeron each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who were coming off a pair of crucial loses in a home-and-home series against the Rangers. Rick DiPietro finished with 29 saves.
Tonight marks the start of a four-game road trip for the Isles, who are 15-13-5 as the away club this year. New York has been defeated in four of its last six road games.
The Canadiens are trying to get back in the playoff race, and were headed in the right direction when they ended a four-game losing streak Saturday in St. Louis. The Blues rallied from a three-goal deficit to tie the game on Glen Metropolit's tally late in the third, but Alexei Kovalev answered with a score less than a minute later and the Canadiens held on to beat St. Louis, 4-3.
Steve Begin, Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse also scored for the Canadiens and netminder David Aebischer finished with 25 saves for Montreal, which is two points behind Carolina and the Rangers for the final postseason berth in the East.
The Habs are 19-12-3 as the host this season, but have dropped four of their last six home tilts.
New York has taken two of three meetings with the Canadiens this year and eight of the last 14 overall encounters in the series.
03/13 11:11:03 ET