The Montreal Canadiens came out of the gates on fire against the New York Islanders when they faced off at the Bell Centre on February 24th, their first meeting of the season. They kept the Islanders to just three shots in the first period, and carried a 2-0 lead into the second.
So what happened? Why did they lose? One of the big factors was the absolutely deadly powerplay wielded by the Islanders.
In case you've been living under a rock the last little while, John Tavares has turned into one of the best players in the NHL, and that Matt Moulson guy isn't too shabby either.
Moulson was the trigger man on both powerplay goals for the Islanders, who move the puck incredibly efficiently while on the man advantage. Going into the game, the Habs' penalty kill was actually on a pretty good run, but they were shredded that night.
The key to beating the Islanders will be to stay out of the box, and play as much time at even strength as possible. Even with home ice advantage, the Islanders don't have the depth to shut down a three lines deep team like Montreal.
So keep them off the PP, don't take penalties!