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Open Game Thread: Auld leads Habs to 3-1 win vs. Islanders



Alex Auld will get his first start with the Montreal Canadiens tonight, as they visit the New York Islanders to close out the home-and-home series. Montreal won the first game on Wednesday night by a 5-3 decision.

Auld, who signed with the Canadiens in the off season, has a career 1-3-1 record against the Islanders, with a 2.80 GAA and a .911 SvPct.

The 29-year-old veteran gives Carey Price a night off, after starting the Canadiens first nine games, and knows his roll as the team's backup.

"Anytime you get an opportunity with a new team you're excited," said Auld after the team's Thursday practice. "Maybe a few years ago I would have dwelled on it more but now my focus is day-to-day."

Outside of the goaltending change, the Canadiens lineup remains unchanged, with the lone exception of Travis Moen moving up to the line with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.

The Islanders sent rookie Nino Niederreiter back to Portland Winterhawks (WHL) on Thursday. The 18-year-old had a goal and an assist in nine games. A tenth game this season for Niederreiter would have made the first year of his three-year entry-level contract active, as per the CBA.

Islanders defenseman Bruno Gervais will see his first action of the regular season tonight, lining up as a forward. Rob Schremp istill out with a back injury, but has reported to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for a conditioning stint.


Head to Head

2010-11: Canadiens won first game of series 5-3

2009-10: Canadiens won series 3-0-1

Overall: Canadiens lead 75-46-5 with 15 ties and have a 31-30-6-3 lifetime record on Long Island

CANADIENS PROJECTED LINE UP

FORWARDS:

Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Andrei Kostitsyn

Travis Moen - Scott Gomez - Brian Gionta

Benoit Pouliot - Jeff Halpern - Maxim Lapierre

Tom Pyatt - Lars Eller - Mathieu Darche

DEFENCE PAIRINGS:

Hal Gill - Josh Gorges; Roman Hamrlik - Jaroslav Spacek; Alexandre Picard - P.K. Subban

GOALIES:

Alex Auld (Carey Price)

INJURIES: Andrei Markov (Knee)

SCTRATCHES: Ryan O'Byrne, Dustin Boyd

Who's Hot? : Andrei Kostitsyn (6G 4 A in nine games this season)

ISLANDERS PROJECTED LINE UP as per Chris Botta

FORWARDS: Moulson, Tavares, Comeau, Bailey, Weight, Hunter, Martin, Nielsen, Parenteau, Sim, Konopka, Gillies, Gervais

DEFENCE PAIRINGS: Eaton - Martinek; Motteau - Wisniewski; Hillen - Jurcina

GOALIES: Rolonson (DiPietro)

INJURIES: Kyle Okposo (Shoulder), Rob Schremp (Back), Mark Streit (Shoulder), Michael Grabner (Groin)

Who's Hot? : James Wisniewski leads NHL rearguards with 2 G and 9A

Follow what the Islanders faithful are saying at Lighthouse Hockey

This doesn't happen in Montreal: As of 8pm Thursday, you could still get a pair of tickets for tonight's game (fifth row, dead center) in the Nassau Colliseum's Loge Level seating.

Union meeting!: The Canadiens players met with NHLPA executive Donald Fehr Thursday night. Josh Gorges spoke to the media Friday on how the meeting went, and his evaluation of the potential NHLPA director. The Canadiens defenceman says he expects a vote to support Fehr will come sooner than late. It's well worth listening to the audio via HabsInsideOut.com

Bulldogs back in action: The Hamilton Bulldogs host the Toronto Marlies tonight in AHL action. Bulldogs goalie Curtis Sanford suffered a crushed larynx two weeks ago in practice, and is campaigning to mandate throat protectors.

SCORING SUMMARY

FIRST PERIOD:

MTL - Tomas Plekanec (PP) (Cammalleri, Hamrlik) - 2:42

SECOND PERIOD

NYI - Matt Martin (Nielsen, Hunter) - 16:45

THIRD PERIOD

MTL - Benoit Pouliot (Halpern, Subban) - 7:19

MTL - Moen (Gionta) - 18:11

Three Stars: 1. Alex Auld 2. Matt Martin 3. Benoit Pouliot