Habs host Isles for second time in five nights
ISLANDERS (1-4-4) at CANADIENS (5-5-0)
This is the second of four meetings between the teams this season. They played just four nights earlier, when the Habs cruised to a 5-1 victory at the Bell Centre. Marc-Andre Bergeron
had a goal and an assist for Montreal.
Montreal's last two wins have come against New York teams. After waxing the Isles on Thursday, the Canadiens rallied for a 5-4 overtime win against the Rangers on Saturday behind a hat trick from Mike Cammalleri
Nine games into their season, the Islanders could have at least five wins. Instead, they only have one, and that's because of their inability to protect leads in the third period. On Saturday, New York had a 2-0 lead in the third period only to drop a 3-2 decision to the Washington Capitals. It marked the third time this season the Islanders surrendered a multi-goal lead in the final 20 minutes.
"We're not the only team," Isles coach Scott Gordon responded when asked about the blown leads. "Given the fact that we're certainly not a dynamic offensive team, it's probably going to happen to us more than we'd like. It has happened more than we'd like. We're not happy about it. That killer instinct … that comes from burying your chances. We've got find a way to be a little bit tighter defensively."
With so many new players on the roster, it's understandable to think that it would take some time for the Habs to gel. It appears as if that's finally taking place, as Montreal has scored 10 goals in its last two games and has won three in a row following a five-game losing streak. Much of the Canadiens' recent success is due to the play of Cammalleri, who increased his goal total to five. He had 39 last season with the Calgary Flames.
"Yeah, it's a special night," he said after Saturday's win. "It's early in my Montreal career on a Saturday night, and for us to get a big win and to get the hat trick is very special, I'm not going to underplay that."
Who's Hot --
He's not known for his offense, but Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton
picked up another assist on Saturday night and now has three points in as many games. Sutton had a goal and an assist in Wednesday's shootout victory against Carolina. For the Canadiens, newcomers Scott Gomez
and Brian Gionta
are also contributing. Each had a pair of assists against the Rangers. Jaroslav Halak
has won three of four starts.
Injury Report --
The Islanders will be without goaltender Rick DiPietro
(knee, hips) and right wing Trent Hunter
(torn pectoral muscle). Doug Weight
is battling flu-like symptoms and did not make the trip. Montreal is missing defensemen Andrei Markov
(leg) and Ryan O'Byrne
Stat Pack --
Isles defenseman Radek Martinek
scored his second goal of the season in Saturday's loss. He has 18 tallies in 382 NHL games. … Bergeron, who was signed after the Markov injury, has been everything the Habs could have asked for and more. The offensive-minded defenseman has two goals and an assist in three games.
Puck Drop --
This is highly unique that the Canadiens are hosting the Islanders for the second time in five nights. If anything, it's a chance for the Isles to redeem themselves after putting forth their worst effort of the season on Thursday night. New York was never in the game and trailed 3-0 after two periods. The Canadiens peppered Martin Biron
with 43 shots on goal, 30 of which came in the first 40 minutes.
-- Brian Compton, NHL.com