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Canadiens @ Islanders: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

Montreal seeks a rebound win after a loss to Tampa on the weekend to start their mini road trip.

Washington Capitals v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Islanders

How to watch

Puck drop: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN 2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Islanders region: MSG+2
Elsewhere: NHL Live

Montreal finally hit a wall in the form of the Tampa Bay Lightning this weekend, in the form of Steven Stamkos and a hot Andrei Vasilevskiy. Despite the loss, there weren’t too many negatives for the Canadiens.

Now, they arrive in New York for bouts against the Rangers, and surprising New York Islanders, who are currently sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference despite many changes in the off-season.

Despite losing centrepiece John Tavares in the off-season, the Islanders have somehow managed to maintain stability this season, and have been one of the quieter success stories this season.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Islanders
Canadiens Statistic Islanders
7-4-2 Record 8-4-1
2-0-1 H2H Record (17-18) 1-2-0
53.2% (7th) Corsi-for pct. 42.7% (29th)
41 (17th) Goals for 42 (12th)
37 (9th) Goals against 30 (2nd)
14.3% (26th) PP% 22.5% (13th)
79.5% (16th) PK% 80.5% (13th)
L•W•L•W•L Form W•W•W•W•W

The Islanders’ biggest acquisition of the off season, in the form of head coach Barry Trotz, could arguably be the biggest reason as to why the Islanders aren’t sitting near the bottom of the standings 14 games into the season. He’s shored up both the defence and goaltending, as the Islanders sit third in the NHL in least goals allowed, with only 30 markers conceived.

Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner so far have proved to be a very effective tandem, and it could also be due to Mitch Korn, the goaltending coach who followed Trotz from Washington, working with them over the summer and this season. Greiss currently sits third in the NHL with a .944 save %, and a 1.85 GAA. Lehner respectively, has a .928 save % and a 2.45 GAA. Goaltending was arguably the biggest question in the off season for the Isles, but has been one of their greatest strengths.

That being said, the offence for the Islanders has been middle of the pack, and that was expected when Tavares announced he was leaving. Led by youngster Mathew Barzal, they sit 16th in the league with 41 goals scored. Some of the supporting cast has upped their play however, as soon to be UFA Jordan Eberle has scored 16 goals and 25 assists dating back to January 1st, including three in as many games recently.

The Islanders are also 29th in the league in even strength Corsi For, which is typically not a recipe for success, especially if their goaltending slows down.

Montreal faces a team that has won its last five games, two of which were against the Penguins, a team Montreal has had success against early. This could mean Montreal and the Islanders may prove to be an entertaining match up. It is important that the Canadiens do not underestimate their opponent. Much like themselves, the Islanders have been successful due to their depth and speed, and the Canadiens showed holes when exposed to similar styles of play.

The biggest key for the Canadiens game is to take advantage early, as they’ve done almost all season. Against the Lightning, only Max Domi’s line was noticeable, so a better night up and down the lineup wouldn’t hurt either. The Islanders defence may be stingy, but have been exposed by hard and long forechecks and speedy transitions, something the Habs have excelled at this season.

With this being the first of four games this week for the Canadiens, followed by the Rangers, Golden Knights and Sabres, this week will be vital for Montreal to gain footing in the Eastern conference in November. Only Boston, the aforementioned Islanders, Toronto and Tampa Bay are ahead of Montreal, and if they remain strong throughout this month, they should only get better once Shea Weber rejoins the line up in December.