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

Montreal starts Big Apple weekend on Long Island.

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens @ New York Islanders

How to watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: Sportsnet East, CityTV (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Islanders region: MSGSN

Fresh off the heels of their emotional and thrilling 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, the Montreal Canadiens will head to New York for back-to-back matchups against the Islanders and Rangers, starting tonight in Elmont, New York.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Islanders
Canadiens Statistics Islanders
17-22-3 Record 22-18-3
44.41% (28th) Scoring-chances-for % 49.08% (22nd)
2.60 (29th) Goals per game 3.05 (23rd)
3.79 (29th) Goals against per game 2.70 (7th)
16.0% (30th) PP% 18.3% (27th)
74.5% (23rd) PK% 82.2% (7th)
1-2-0 21-22 H2H Record 1-1-1

Montreal (17-22-3) was able to sneak to a win in a close game on Thursday, one that honoured former NHL All-Star blue-liner P.K. Subban prior to puck drop with an emotional ceremony and speech by Subban himself. The crowd never stopped cheering for him, as he thanked the Canadiens organization for all the great memories, giving him his first NHL break, and everything that the city brought to him throughout his seven years as a Hab.

There was plenty to keep cheering about once the game started as well. Cole Caufield led the offence, firing two howitzer power-play goals from nearly the same spot on the ice to up his season total to a career-high 25. Commentator Marc Denis summed it up best post-game: In the 79 games since Martin St-Louis has been at the helm of the Canadiens, Caufield has scored 47 goals.

The power play, which has been a struggle all season long, was able to climb out of the league basement with the two markers in the contest, jumping to 30th ahead of the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets. Kirby Dach potted his seventh of the season and Jake Evans got his second in the win. Evans almost scored a second on a beautiful breakaway late in the second period, but fell an inch short.

Samuel Montembeault made 39 saves, including 19 of 20 in the third period alone, en route to his seventh win of the season. He is now one win shy of tying his career-high of eight, set last season.

The Islanders (22-18-3) have stumbled since the new year started, going 1-4-1 in their last six games. They have been snakebitten as they’ve only scored five goals in their last four games. In their last contest, they let their 1-0 lead slip away, and the Minnesota Wild scored three unanswered to give them a 3-1 victory in New York. Scott Mayfield provided the lone goal for the Islanders, and Ilya Sorokin made 33 saves in the defeat.

The team is capable of scoring though, despite its record, as they have six players with 10 or more goals this season. Leading the way is Mathew Barzal with 11 goals and 41 points through 43 games, followed by Brock Nelson with 15 goals at 39 points, and captain Anders Lee, also with 15 goals but just 30 points.

Last season, Nelson had Montreal’s number, recording six goals and one assist in the three games, including a four-goal outburst in their first matchup, a 6-2 win.

Montreal won the next contest in February, a 3-2 shootout-decided game, with forward Rem Pitlick getting the winning goal. The season series finished in April with New York escaping with a 3-0 victory in what was Carey Price’s season debut.

There will be a familiar face for Montreal fans as Alexander Romanov, who played the first 133 regular seasons of his NHL career as a Hab, will be facing his old team. Romanov became a fan favourite for his heavy hitting and great speed in his Montreal tenure, and was traded at last summer’s draft for Dach. Through his first 43 games this season, Romanov has potted one goal and added 13 helpers and is a plus-8, a career high to this point.

Canadiens fans will hope that the motivating and heartening speech given by P.K. Subban prior to Thursday’s game, will continue to carry momentum so Montreal can string back-to-back victories for the first time since late November.

We’ll all find out if they’re successful in their goal ... at the rink.