NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 14th (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (19-11-3) at New York Islanders (9-19-5), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens try to avoid posting their longest losing streak in over a month on Saturday night as they visit the New York Islanders.
The Canadiens have dropped back-to-back games, including Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. That defeat came two days after a 6-0 setback to the Los Angeles Kings that halted Montreal's five-game win streak and 10-game point streak (9-0-1).
Carey Price made 25 saves and Alex Galchenyuk prevented a shutout loss by scoring with 55.1 seconds left to play.
"These are the games where you have to stay focused and just try to do your job," said Price about the lack of support from his offense. "You have ultimately one goal out there, that's to stop the puck. It's the only thing you have to worry about."
Montreal has fallen five points behind Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division and a loss tonight would give the club its longest losing streak since dropping four in a row from Nov. 1-7.
A meeting with the Islanders could help right the ship. New York lost 10 in a row (0-8-2) before a shootout victory at San Jose on Tuesday, but fell right back into the loss column two nights later with a 6-3 setback at Phoenix.
In the finale of a five-game road trip, Kyle Okposo, Eric Boulton and John Tavares all scored, while Kevin Poulin yielded all six goals on 36 shots faced.
"When you give up six goals like that and leave your goalie out to dry is unacceptable," said Tavares. "We've got to work on our defense here or we're going to keep dropping games."
New York got two assists from defenseman Brian Strait in his return to the lineup. He had been out since suffering an upper-body injury on Oct. 22.
Evgeni Nabokov, meanwhile, was activated off injured reserve before the game after being sidelined since Nov. 16 with a groin ailment. He served as the backup to Poulin and could get the start tonight.
In 14 starts this season, Nabokov is 5-5-3 with a 3.30 goals against average and .892 save percentage.
The Islanders have lost two straight to the Canadiens, including a 4-2 setback in Montreal on Nov. 10.
The Habs are 4-1-2 in the past seven meetings overall.
12/14 10:25:37 ET