Game Preview: NY Islanders @ Montreal Canadiens

The Islanders have 14 points in their last 15 games, sitting just 5 points shy of first in the Metro Division

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders
Boston Bruins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The NY Islanders (14-7-8) are heading north to Montreal to face off against the Montreal Canadiens (12-13-4) for the first time this season.

LAST GAME

The Islanders suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Boston Bruins after blowing another vital third-period lead, with David Pastrnak scoring the game-winning shootout goal in the third round. Despite a 2-0 lead in the second, thanks to goals by Alexander Romanov and Simon Holmstrom, the Bruins were able to tie the game before the end of the period. The Islanders' penalty kill struggled last night, allowing three goals on three kills. Power play goals by Bo Horvat and Brock Nelson gave the Isles a 4-3 lead with minutes left in the third. A controversial goal by Mason Lohrei with three minutes left in the third tied the game at 4. Despite having a power play, the Isles could not score in OT. Goals by Charlie Coyle and Holmstrom had the Isles tied in the shootout, but Pastrnak snipped one past Ilya Sorokin to give the B's the victory. Despite playing great at 5 on 5, the Isles needed help to keep the Bruins' power play at bay. The Bruins are always a tough matchup for the Isles, so coming away with one point was lucky.

The Habs are coming off a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, as the two teams went into the 12th round of the shootout, where Jansen Harkins ended the game to win it 4-3 for the Pens. The Habs took a quick 3-1 lead on the Penguins during the first period thanks to goals by David Savard, Jayden Struble, and Sean Monohan. The Penguins got two back to tie the game at three during the second period. The game remained tied during the third period, and all 5 minutes of extra time to send the game into a shootout. The Habs went 3/12 in the shootout.

HISTORICAL MATCHUP

Isles fans vividly remember the last time the Islanders faced off against the Habs, with an Islanders win sending them to the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game 82 of the season ended with an Islanders 4-2 win over the Canadiens. The night before, the Penguins were defeated 5-2 by the Chicago Blackhawks, meaning the Islanders needed a victory to punch their ticket to the playoffs. Brock Nelson scored twice in the nail-biting finish to the regular season. The Islanders won 2/3 of games against the Habs last season, losing only during their visit to the Bell Center.

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov is 6-1-2 against the Canadiens in 12 career appearances against the team. He owns a 0.919 save percentage and a 2.58 goals-against average in those games.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bo Horvat extended his point streak against the Bruins with a goal and two assists and has a nine game-points streak (6G, 9A). He has 29 points in 28 games played this season. Linemate Mat Barzal extended his point streak to five games (3G, 6A) last night. Barzal is also above a point per game this season, with 32 points in 28 games. Brock Nelson is the third Islander with a point streak, whose goal against the Bruins extended his to three games.

Nick Suzuki loves playing against the Islanders, having scored in all three matchups last season. He has 23 points in 29 games this season (8G, 15A). Sean Monahan has three goals in his past five games. Goaltender Samuel Montembeault is off to a great start at 6-4-2, with an SV% of .911% and a GAA of 2.78 this season.

PROJECTED LINEUP

ISLANDERS

Anders Lee - Bo Horvat - Mathew Barzal
Pierre Engvall - Brock Nelson - Kyle Palmieri
Simon Holmstrom - J.G. Pageau – Julien Gauthier
Hudson Fasching - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Alexander Romanov - Noah Dobson
Samuel Bolduc - Robert Bortuzzo
Mike Reilly - Sebastian Aho

Semyon Varlamov
Ilya Sorokin

CANADIENS

Cole Caufield - Nick Suzuki - Juraj Slafkovsky
Sean Monahan - Jake Evans - Josh Anderson
Brendan Gallagher - Christian Dvorak – Jesse Ylonen
Michael Pezzetta - Mitchell Stephens - Joel Armia

Mike Matheson - David Savard
Kaiden Guhle - Justin Barron
Jayde Struble - Jonathan Kovacevic

Samuel Montembeault
Cayden Primeau