Islanders-Canadiens Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 13, 2011
For the past several seasons, the New York Islanders enjoyed little success against the Montreal Canadiens. Their luck could be changing. In a matchup of the Eastern Conference's two lowest-scoring teams, the Islanders look to beat the Canadiens for a fourth straight time Tuesday night in Montreal. When these teams met Nov. 17 on Long Island, New York (9-12-6) scored all of its goals in the second period of a 4-3 win. P.A. Parenteau, Jay Pandolfo, Mark Streit and Matt Moulson all scored as Rick DiPietro made 24 saves in relief of injured starter Evgeni Nabokov. It was the third straight win in the series for the Islanders, who had lost 12 of the previous 15 meetings. New York hasn't won four straight over the Canadiens since Nov. 18, 1993-April 1, 1994. The Islanders, last in the NHL with 62 goals, arrive in Montreal after a 6-3 home loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Islanders held a 3-2 lead before the game took a turn in the second period when New York defenseman Travis Hamonic was ejected for a hit on Brooks Orpik that both teams seemed to think wasn't a penalty. "You watch that replay, and in my opinion that's a terrible call because I didn't hit him. That wasn't a head-check,'' Hamonic said. "It's very frustrating. That's a critical part in the game and then all of a sudden, we're short guys." The Islanders, who got goals from David Ullstrom, Milan Jurcina and Kyle Okposo, ended up without a point for the first time since Nov. 25. They were 4-0-2 in their previous six. Like New York, Montreal (12-11-7) has also earned at least one point in all but one of its last seven games, going 2-1-4. The Canadiens, whose 77 goals are the second-fewest in the East, defeated New Jersey 2-1 on Saturday, as Tomas Kaberle had two assists in his first game with Montreal. Acquired Friday in a trade with Carolina, Kaberle was brought in to help the Canadiens' floundering power play, which was 1 for 36 (2.8 percent) in the previous nine games. Kaberle made an immediate impact, assisting on Max Pacioretty's goal with the man advantage in the second period. "He's an experienced defenseman whose strength has always been quarterbacking the power play,'' Montreal coach Jacques Martin said. "He has good vision on the power play.'' Martin also had high praise for Carey Price, who finished with 28 saves and stopped Zach Parise's penalty shot with 47 seconds left in the third period. "Carey came up big in the early stages of the game and later on, he preserved the win," Martin said. Price is 2-0-2 with a 1.68 goals-against average since Dec. 3, but has had some trouble against New York. In five career starts versus the Islanders, Price is 2-1-2 with a 3.15 GAA, his worst GAA against any East opponent. Al Montoya, expected to get the start in goal for the Islanders, is 1-1-2 with a 3.41 GAA in four starts this month.
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