NHL Preview from The Sports Network |
Wednesday, March 31st
(All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (40-28-7-4) at New York Islanders (36-29-10-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Islanders try to wrap up the final playoff
berth in the East tonight when they welcome the Montreal Canadiens to Nassau
With 86 points, the eighth-place Isles are three ahead of the Buffalo Sabres
in the Eastern Conference standings with three games to play. New York will
clinch the final spot with a win and a Sabres loss to the Rangers at Madison
Square Garden this evening.
The Isles have, however, been slumping, losing their last two games to
Carolina and New Jersey. On Sunday, New York dropped a 3-2 decision to the
host Devils, as Patrik Elias recorded a goal and two assists to lead the
Dave Scatchard and Mark Parrish scored for the Islanders, while Kenny Jonsson
assisted on both tallies. New York had won four straight games before its
Rick DiPietro made 25 saves in a losing effort.
Slumping center Alexei Yashin had his role significantly reduced on Sunday
night, as he logged just 9:56 of ice time. Yashin has just one goal and three
assists in 11 games since returning from a wrist injury.
The Isles will visit Carolina on Friday before closing out the season Sunday
against Philadelphia at Nassau Coliseum.
Montreal, meanwhile, is already in the postseason field, sitting seventh in
the East with 91 points. The Habs have lost three straight games, including
Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss in Boston. Sergei Samsonov, who also tied the
game with a goal early in the third period, scored the game-winner in the
final minute of overtime for the Bruins.
Jose Theodore stopped 36-of-39 shots in a losing effort for Montreal, which
earned a point for the regulation tie and clinched a playoff spot.
Jason Ward scored on a penalty shot for Montreal and Stephane Quintal added
the other goal.
Montreal will host Philadelphia on Thursday before welcoming Buffalo on
Saturday in the regular season finale.
The Canadiens are 2-1 against the Islanders this season, but the home club is
10-1-1 in the last 12 meetings.
03/31 10:13:10 ET