The Canadiens have won two straight games thanks in large part to the heroics of Andrei Kostitsyn, who leads the team with 8 points. The young Belarusian and the rest of the Habs look to continue their hot play as they face the New York Islanders for the first time of this still young season.
To the surprise of many, the Islanders are playing excellent hockey of late, currently sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference and boasting one of the league`s better offensive units. In stark contrast with Montreal’s miserable man-advantage, New York ranks fifth in the league with an excellent 26.3% conversion rate. In addition, with surprising contributions from point leaders Blake Comeau, PA Parenteau and James Wisnewski, who all have 8 points, the Islanders rank near the top of the league in goals per game. On top of their stellar scoring, Dwayne Roloson, who will get the start tonight, has been excellent thus far. The 41 year old netminder has posted a .942 percentage and a miniscule 1.65 goals against average in three contests. Conversely, partner Rick DiPietro has been struggling, allowing 17 goals in only five games.
Carey Price seems set to start his ninth straight game for Montreal. The British Columbia native has played every game thus far, registering a stellar 2.23 GAA along with a .918 save percentage. Pyatt is expected to be once again riding shotgun with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta. However, that trio has yet to click, producing only a grand total of 5 points. With an underperforming second-line and a dismal powerplay, the Canadiens certainly have some offensive woes. Nonetheless, the team has done admirably on the defensive end, ranking in the top-6 in goals against per game, shots against per game and penalty killing. Those numbers are perhaps indicative of Jacques Martin’s defensive scheme finally getting through the players, as the Habs have often ranked poorly in those categories in years past, especially where shots against were concerned.
For the Islanders, forwards Trent Hunter and Michael Grabner are all injured and likely out for tonight’s contest while Josh Bailey will return to the lineup. Ryan O’Byrne will once again be a healthy scratch and Andrei Markov has not yet been cleared for a return.
Puck drops at 7:30 pm and the game will air on RDS, TSN and MSG Plus 2 in the United States.
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