Tale of the Tape
MTL 14-4-4 NYI 9-11-2
Goals For: MTL 3.04 NYI 2.82
Goals Against: MTL 2.32 NYI 3.41
Special Teams: MTL PP 19.0%(11th) MTL PK 82.6%(15th)
NYI PP 22.1% (5th) NYI PK 84.2% (10th)
Canadiens Road Record 6-1-2
Islanders Home Record 3-8-1
Season Series: 1-0 New York (4-3(OT) February 21st)
Currently Riding: MTL 1W NYI 1W
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Brad Boyes
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner - Marty Reasoner - David Ullstrom
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald
Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald
Mark Streit – Joe Finley
Thomas Hickey – Radek Martinek
The Islanders are at home again to play host to the Montreal Canadiens tonight. The Habs are riding a 8-0-3 stretch that has just featured them beating the Boston Bruins a few days ago.
The game featured some controversy with Alexei Emelin breaking his stick over Tyler Seguin’s ribs before getting a Slovakian feeding from Zdeno Chara, who was handed a game misconduct for his thrashing.
The Isles are fresh off a win after snapping a three-game skid against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday afternoon. Thanks to John Tavares’ slick shootout moves, the Islanders can now focus on getting into the playoffs vice the top three pick. The win proved to the players, staff and fans that they can grind out a win at home, which was something that was a question mark all season.
The Isles are 5-4-1 in their last ten games so it’s not as bad as it could be if the Isles can string together a stretch of points, but the Canadiens are no simple task. Here are three keys for tonight’s game.
1.Keep Skating: The Canadiens are a very fast hockey team so there is no situation where players should be at a standstill in this game.
2.Engage Board Play: Get the puck in behind the defensemen and make them work for it. Montreal is a chippy team only when things are going their way. The Habs are a very emotional hockey team with a defensive core that is easily upset. The Isles have to get in the dirty areas tonight.
3.Limit East to West Chances: Evgeni Nabokov is very delayed when he has to move East to West. He’s been making saves but only due to opposing players not putting the puck where they want to. Get bodies and sticks in the passing lanes before Nabby’s luck runs out.
Speed is the key for the Canadiens, so the Islanders have to match it. With John Tavares battling the flu it might be a good idea for Capuano to limit him to 10-13 minutes tonight in the first two and roll the lines to keep his top players fresh for the third period.
Carey Price will be between the pipes tonight so it’s essential that the Islanders draw crowds around the puck in the offensive zone to free up the slot. The Canadiens are a good shot blocking team so they need to create an opening in the middle of the ice by drawing people away from the slot. The Isles D will need to get pucks through in this game, unlike the last where Ottawa blocked many shots, and dig hard for the rebounds.
When you’re playing one of the best teams in the league you have to dig deep, get in the dirty areas and fight hard on every shift. The Islanders should come into this game with confidence after their grinding win over Ottawa and the win against Montreal earlier this year and apply a winning mentality from the start of the game. That being said, a slow start could sink the Islanders before this game even exits the first period.
Thanks for reading, you can find me on twitter @chiassontb