Islanders @ Canadiens - game preview
Montoya in net for the Isles final matchup with the Habs
Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 11:18 AM ET / News
By David Hochman
|Team Record: 28-32-11
Last Game: 3-2 L vs PHI
Season Series: 1-2-0 of 4
|Team Record: 28-32-11
Last Game: 2-1 OTL @ OTT
Season Series: 2-1-0 of 4
Trailing 3-0 Thursday night against Philadelphia, it was the Islanders captain that kicked it up a notch and helped lead the charge in the final minutes of the game. Streit sent a perfect slap-pass to Michael Grabner for a score. Only 35 seconds later, he was back at it, carrying the puck low with full force, driving the net, pulling defenders to him and setting up John Tavares.
Even though the Islanders lost the game 3-2, their leader and top-scoring defenseman showed why this team should never be counted out. His 39 points are fourth-most on the roster and ranks in the top 15 among defensemen in the whole NHL.
After a body check gone wrong from Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara, Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and fractured vertebra last season. Many observers thought he’d never be the same, if he even returned to the game of hockey at all. He has proven everyone wrong with an incredible return this season, leading his team in goals (30) and points (58).
Thanks to his courageous performance this year, the ever-critical Montreal media nominated Pacioretty for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is given to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Get that outta here!: With 11 games remaining, the Islanders still lead the NHL in blocked shots. With 1,201, they’re 25 blocks ahead of Minnesota and almost 50 blocks in front of Montreal, who rank no. 3 in the league. That could lead to more shots blocked that on net Saturday night.
JT PPG?: With his 31st goal of the season Thursday night, John Tavares reached 70 points in 71 games. Riding a four-game point streak, Tavares can push for a season-long point-per-game average when the regular season wraps up April 7th.
Keep it clean: Thursday night marked the second straight game the Islanders did not give their opponents a power play. That’s the first time in over 25 years this has occurred. Going for three straight could play a major role in Saturday night’s contest.
Much like Thursday night against Philadelphia, the last matchup between the Habs and Isles saw a New York comeback fall short in the closing minutes. After two goals from Max Pacioretty and one from Scott Gomez put Montreal up 3-0, it seemed like lights out. The Islanders never packed it in though as Matt Moulson and Mark Streit scored 48 seconds apart in the closing minutes of the third period to set up an exciting finish.
PA Parenteau barely missed tying the game in the final seconds before Pacioretty netted an empty-netter to complete his hat trick and the Canadiens won 4-2. The loss broke a five-game point streak for the Islanders.
Click the photo for gallery from the last time the Islanders played the Canadiens.
IslandersPower play: 18.3%
Penalty kill: 80.5%
Home record: 15-16-6
Road record: 13-16-5
Goals For: 166
Goals Against: 214
CanadiensPower play: 19.7%
Penalty kill: 81.6%
Home record: 18-10-5
Road record: 22-12-2
Goals For: 223
Goals Against: 197
Answer from Thursday's question: What New York Islanders defenseman was hit by a car in Philadelphia during the day, but went on to play in the game that evening? The answer is: Brendan Witt. Witt was hit by a car in Philadelphia on Dec. 8, 2009, but went on to play that night. The car was not seriously hurt in this collision.
Al Montoya will start tonight in Montreal. Steve Staios (lower body) and Jay Pandolfo are scratched. Click here to see the tweaked lines for tonight.
Canadiens Expected LineupsForwards:
Goaltenders: Price; Budaj
Jay Pandolfo on his Masterton nomination: "It’s nice to be nominated. It usually goes to older guys that have been around, but anytime you’re honored like this, it’s special.”