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Canadiens Pre Game

Habs Game 79: Slafkovsky Aims To Maintain Momentum

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Montreal Canadiens vs New York Islanders

The Montreal Canadiens (30-36-12) are set to play the New York Islanders (36-27-15) on Thursday. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.

The Habs are coming off a dominant win over the Philadelphia Flyers in which Juraj Slafkovsky scored his first career hat trick in the NHL. To make matters more interesting, Slafkovsky scored with three different types of goals, yet another example of his evolution since entering the league.

Slafkovsky has also done a much better job this season using his frame to create time and space for his teammates, something that can be seen any time he generates a controlled entry into the offensive zone.

Despite a rather slow start to the season due to playing in the bottom six with questionable linemates, Slafkovsky is now on pace to hit the 50-point mark, and there’s still an outside chance he manages to score 20 goals.

While Nick Suzuki continues to be the engine that drives the team offence, Slafkovsky has quickly become one of the most important players in the lineup.

The 9-3 win also featured a few other encouraging signs, as Josh Anderson managed to score, and Christian Dvorak found the back of the net twice during his first game back after recovering from what was expected to be a season-ending injury.

There are no lineup changes expected, which means goaltender Samuel Montembeault will be given the start.

MUST READ: Canadiens Analysis: Suzuki’s Breakout Year & Future Projections

As for the Islanders, they’re in the midst of a very strong run that has seen them win five games in a row. With the rest of the playoff hopefuls failing miserably down the stretch, the winning streak means the Islanders now sit in the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.

The Habs have won both meetings between the clubs this season, but seeing as the Islanders are now coached by Patrick Roy, the Canadiens can expect much stiffer competition than what they experienced against the Flyers, who were also desperate to qualify for the playoffs when they were run out of the rink by the Canadiens on Tuesday.

Martin St-Louis’ team will have to keep a close eye on Matthew Barzal and Bo Horvat, as both forwards have produced six points in their last five games.

To get the view from the other side of the rink we would like to invite our readers to visit our sister site, NYI Hockey Now.

Montreal Canadiens Injuries

  • Carey Price (IR)
  • Chris Wideman (IR)
  • Kirby Dach (out indefinitely, ACL/MCL)
  • Arber Xhekaj (out indefinitely)
  • Joshua Roy (4-6 weeks)

New York Islanders Injuries

  • Scott Mayfield (IR)

 

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup

LWCRW
Cole CaufieldNick SuzukiJuraj Slafkovsky
Brendan GallagherAlex NewhookJoel Armia
Jesse YlonenJake EvansJosh Anderson
Michael PezzettaChristian DvorakRafael Harvey-Pinard
LDRD
Mike MathesonJustin Barron
Lane HutsonDavid Savard
Jordan HarrisLogan Mailloux
Goalie
Samuel Montembeault
Cayden Primeau

 

New York Islanders Projected Lineup

Cizikas – Horvat – Barzal

Holmstrom – Nelson – Palmieri

Lee – Pageau – Engvall

Martin – Maclean – Clutterbuck

Defence

Romanov – Dobson

Pelech – Pulock

Reilly – Aho

Goalie

Varlamov

 

How to Watch

TV

TSN2, RDS