The Montreal Canadiens (12-13-4) host the New York Islanders(14-7-8) at the Bell Centre on Saturday night. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET.
The Habs are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that featured a strong start by Martin St-Louis’ team. They faded down the stretch, and it took over a dozen shooters from each side to decide the winner of the shootout, but overall it was a decent effort from a young, rebuilding team.
Jake Evans was missing from practice on Friday, which meant that Jesse Ylonen practiced on the second line, but he’s expected to play on the fourth line once again.
St-Louis explained that there would be no changes to his lineup, and therefore Emil Heineman will have to wait before playing his first career game in the NHL.
The top line featuring Juraj Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki, and Cole Caufield has yet to score a goal, but they are producing some very interesting underlying numbers. They’ve controlled more than 50 percent of the shots and expected goals, which means the process is good, but the results aren’t there yet.
Samuel Montembeault, who is currently ninth among all NHL goaltenders in goals saved above expected, will start for the Canadiens.
Most expected teams like the Carolina Hurricanes or the New Jersey Devils to sit atop the Metropolitan Division, but it’s two teams from New York that are currently the top teams.
The Islanders only trail the Rangers for the top spot in the division, and though their 49.5 xGF% suggests they’re overachieved slightly, they’re not a team that should be taken lightly.
The Islanders outshot the Bruins in their last matchup, but like the Canadiens, failed to capitalize on their shot advantage, losing 5-4 in the shootout.
Matt Barzal leads the team with 10 goals and 22 assists in 28 games, followed by Bo Horvat who has 11 goals and 18 assists. Noah Dobson leads the charge from the back end with five goals and 24 assists.
Montreal Canadiens Injuries
- Carey Price (IR)
- Chris Wideman (IR)
- Kirby Dach (out indefinitely, ACL/MCL)
- Rafael Harvey-Pinard (IR)
- Jordan Harris (10-14 days)
- Alex Newhook (out 10-12 weeks)
- Tanner Pearson (IR)
New York Islanders Injuries
- Scott Mayfield (IR)
- Ryan Pulock (IR)
- Adam Pelech (IR)
- Matt Martin (IR)
Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
New York Islanders Projected Lineup
Lee – Horvat – Barzal
Engvall – Nelson – Palmieri
Holmstrom – Pageau – Gauthier
Fasching – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Romanov – Dobson
Reilly – Aho
Bolduc – Bortuzzo