Thursday, 23 February 2017
Game 61: Islanders vs Habs
GAME PREVIEW: THE ISLANDERS ARE SUDDENLY ALL INJURED
Hey Habs fans, you thinking winning streak? TWO GAME WINNING STREAK!? Man, we haven't had one of those since the Reagan Administration. I might be off a couple of weeks, but you get the point. This team has gone a long time without a sustained string of victories.
Tonight, the Canadiens host the New York Islanders fresh off their dramatic Tuesday night win over the New York Rangers. The Islanders, on the 2nd leg of a massive 9 game road trip, come into Montreal with a slight limp or sixteen. Their victory Tuesday in Detroit came at big expense, as New York lost not only winger Casey Cizikas, but star winger Cal Clutterbuck to an undisclosed LBI. Also out long term is defender Travis Hamonic. The injury woes come at a bad time for a team that's desperately trying to make up ground in an exceptionally difficult Division.
Over on the Habs side, not a lot of changes are expected tonight - there are still rumblings and questions surrounding the long-term status of Greg Pateryn, since Marc Bergevin officially let everyone know he intended on dealing the capable 3rd line defender. The story still makes as much sense as Bergevin's handling of his organization's defensive depth.
After losing Mark Barberio, another more-than-capable 6th defender, to the waiver wire (an entirely avoidable conclusion), the Habs, who just a few weeks ago had good defensive depth, now suddenly find themselves scrambling. Recent acquisition Nikita Nesterov hasn't shown much since coming to Montreal, and neither has Zach Redmond or Joel Hanley.
So maybe Marc should just take a step back, and be happy with what he's got in Pateryn? Just a wild thought.
In any case, it's likely the Habs will repeat their Tuesday lineup against the Islanders, with coach Claude Julien hoping for another strong performance from the Thomas Plekanec, Artturi Lehkonen and Andrew Shaw to help push his teams to (wow!!) another victory.
Puck drops at 7:40 EST. Yours truly is traveling tomorrow, so it's unlikely I'll be able to post live game blogging updates.