NHL Hockey

0
Final 1 2 3 Tot
NY Islanders 0 0 0 0
Montreal 1 3 0 4
4
4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ET20:30 BRT, March 21, 2019
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec  Attendance: 21,302

Islanders look to rebound in clash with Canadiens

New York Islanders at Montreal Canadiens

  1. The Islanders snapped a three-game losing streak to the Canadiens when they won, 2-1, on Long Island on March 14. In 11 matchups over the past four seasons, Montreal has scored on 33.3 percent of power-play opportunities while New York has scored on just 9.1 percent.
  2. The Islanders were blanked by the Bruins, 5-0, at home on Tuesday, their largest home loss of the season. New York had just 13 shots on goal in the loss, tied for the fewest by any team in a game this season (Anaheim vs. St. Louis on January 23).
  3. The Canadiens defeated the Flyers, 3-1, in Philadelphia on Tuesday to keep their playoff hopes alive. Montreal currently ranks ninth in the Eastern Conference in points, one point behind Columbus. However, the Habs have the most difficult remaining schedule in the NHL (.612, based on current records).
  4. Josh Bailey, second on the Islanders in points this season with 50, has not tallied a point in seven straight games. That is his longest point drought since seven straight games without a point in 2015-16.
  5. Max Domi had a goal and an assist in the win over the Flyers, bringing him to 25 goals and 39 assists this season and 199 career points in 295 career games. Domi's father, Tie Domi, scored his 200th career point in his 836th career game.
  6. The Islanders have only allowed 18 power-play goals on the road this season, tied for the fifth fewest in the NHL. The Canadiens have only scored 13 power-play goals at home this season, the second fewest in the league (Det, 12).

Coming off arguably their worst loss of the season, the New York Islanders will face another tough challenge when they visit the playoff-hungry Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

The Islanders (42-24-7, 91 points) were shut out on home ice on Tuesday, suffering a 5-0 loss to the Bruins. New York managed only a season-low 13 shots in the game.

The defeat dropped New York two points behind the Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division, and also narrowed the gap between the Islanders and the Penguins (89 points), Hurricanes (87) and Blue Jackets (84).

With just nine games remaining in the regular season, the Islanders don't have time to dwell on the tough result.

"(Tuesday) obviously wasn't to the level that we've set for ourselves," forward Josh Bailey said. "Unfortunately in an 82-game season those things happen. It doesn't make it acceptable by any means. I think if anything you just need to talk about it, learn from it, and turn the page and still remember that we do have a good, quality team in here."

New York suffered a blow on Wednesday when it learned center Valtteri Filppula is expected to miss four weeks with an upper-body injury.

Filppula, 35, was injured in the first period Tuesday night on a hit from behind by Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton. Filppula has 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in 71 games in his first season with the Islanders.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens also can't rest on their laurels in the wake of their 3-1 win over the Flyers on Tuesday. Montreal (38-28-7, 83 points) sits just a point behind the Blue Jackets for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

"Our focus right now is really trying to emphasize controlling what we can control," forward Brendan Gallagher said. "We did a good job tonight but now we've got to move on. It's kind of the position we're in, we've got to put together some wins. ... We need every game badly right now."

New York has been one of the NHL's best defensive teams this season, creating added pressure on the Canadiens to break out of their scoring slump. Montreal has scored just 15 goals over their last eight games, which has unsurprisingly led to just a 3-5-0 record in that stretch.

The lack of offense has obscured more outstanding play from Carey Price, who is expected to make his sixth consecutive start on Thursday. Montreal's star netminder has a .948 save percentage and 1.52 goals against average over his last four games, though with only a 2-2-0 record to show for it.

Robin Lehner allowed five goals on 39 shots against Boston, in the goalie's first action after missing New York's previous six games. Lehner was sidelined first with an upper-body injury, and then was kept on the bench due to Thomas Greiss' red-hot play, making it possible that the Islanders will again turn to Greiss against Montreal.

Greiss was named the NHL's First Star of the Week for March 11-17 after posting a .959 save percentage, 1.25 goals against average, and a 3-1-0 record over four games.

One of Greiss' victories was a 2-1 win over the Canadiens on March 14. New York and Montreal have split their previous two meetings this season, with the Canadiens capturing a 4-3 shootout win on November 5.

Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck also was forced out of Tuesday's game due to an upper-body injury. He is questionable for Thursday.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 20, 2019

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