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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pregame Preview: Canadiens at Islanders (Game #34)

habs_islanders_dec132011 
Match Up:

Saturday night, the Canadiens (19-11-3) will look to put an end to their 2-game losing streak in New York against a slumping Islanders (9-19-5) team. The game start at 7:00 and airs on CBC and RDS.

This is the second of three meetings between the Habs and Islanders this season. The Kid line led the Habs to a 4-2 victory on home ice in their first meeting, the night of Alex Galchenyuk's infamous jersey kiss. Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Lars Eller each potted a goal and combined for 8 points in the win.

What to Watch:

The Canadiens offense has been kept to just one goal in Montreal's past two games and a span f over 120 minutes without a goal. PK Subban still leads the Habs in points but he's gone his past 5 games without a point and has just 4 goals on the year.

John Tavares has 5 points in his last 3 games for the Isles, with 13 goals and 37 points he leads the team in both departments. Newcomer Thomas Vanek has 13 points in 17 games since joining the team in exchange for Matt Moulson, including 4 points in the last 3 games.

What's at Stake:

The Habs have lost ground to the Bruins and Penguins in the past week and their cushion over teams like the Red Wings, Lightning and Capitals is quickly disappearing. The Islanders sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan division and the Habs can't afford not to capitalize against a team that has 3 wins in their last 19 games.

Who's Out:

Rene Bourque (upper body) didn't travel with the team but is nearing a return to action, Davis Drewiske (shoulder) is out long term.

The Islanders are missing Radek Martinek (back) and Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion). Casey Cizikas (jaw) is also Questionable for Saturday's game.

What Else:

While Montreal still has the sixth ranked power play in the league, the Canadiens' man advantage has been kept goalless in the last 5 games; the team is 0 for their last 13 attempts. The Habs will have a chance to turn that around Saturday against the worst penalty kill in the league. The Islanders have allowed 30 goals in 105 short handed situations, exactly double what the Habs have given up in 108 attempted kills.

The Question Mark:

Tell us what you think, where does Galchenyuk's crest kiss rank in your memories as a Canadiens fan?

Let us know what you think by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter or just leave a comment.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

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