Islanders Gameday: Oui oui, Tavares in Montreal

One by one, we'll get through all six "Tavares plays in [Canadian city] for first time" stories. That's all lovely, and fortunately he handles media like a long-time pro, but I'm focused on the possibility of learning from building off last night.

Nyi-lhlow_medium                 Mon-upc_medium
New York Islanders at Montreal Canadiens

7 p.m. EDT | Le [brewer or telco or such] Centre | MSG+, TSN, RDS; radio feed

Habs therapy: Eyes on the Prize | Habs Inside/Out | Four Habs Fans

The Canadiens are a wealthy team and profit machine. They can afford to lets half their roster walk in the summer, because hey, they can just buy up new guys at the free agency store. They can even afford to take one of Glen Sather's mistakes off his hands. Dammit. The Islanders, future in flux and recent past in regret, have to restart the hard way.

So these matches in recent years have been fun for me: It's not exactly David vs. Goliath, but it is like playing with house money. Great atmosphere in Montreal, and a loss hurts the Habs much worse than it hurts the Isles. House money.

2008-09 Matchups

Last season produced two intriguing shows at the [beer/bank/telco] Centre. I thought the March meeting was an early sign of Kyle Okposo's game coming together, as he finished a very good game by potting the OT winner. Well before that, 11 months ago the Islanders won via shootout, after a pretty weak Islanders performance was bailed out by Ryan O'Byrne's wacky own goal. O'Byrne didn't see the ice again and was serenaded off the ice by some unforgiving Habs fans.

We won't mention the matches at the Coliseum, which included a late-season blow-out and -- stop me if you've heard this before -- a blown three-goal Islanders lead that spoiled Yann Danis's first appearance against his old team.

Of course, that was a completely different Habs team. Today they have a whole new top line. The Kostitsyn melodrama continues unabated, as does the uncertainty over Carey Price (who is frequently outplayed by Jaroslav Halak).


GP MIN W L GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Jaroslav Halak 3 132 1 1 5 2.27 54 49 .907 0


Notes

  • Halak -- who played quite well in a 1-1 shootout win over Atlanta this week, gets the start tonight, opposite Martin Biron. Halak is 2-1 in his career against the Isles, allowing 4 goals for a 1.34 GAA and .955 save percentage.
  • As reported by Katie Strang, Doug Weight didn't even make the trip, and Jon Sim appears to be his replacement -- as first-line right wing, I fear.
  • Frans Nielsen appears to be playing, despite the team indicating last week that he wouldn't do back-to-backs. I only hope they're not rushing him. I only hope this doesn't backfire. The nature of his knee injury not abundantly clear, we can only trust in their decisions. You do trust in their decisions, don't you?
  • We may not all agree on the relative merits of Andy Sutton, but we can agree on this: 60 minutes, please. Not 50. Not 54. Sixty. 6-0.

The game thread will be up within an hour before game time. Last night's was fun. Can you go back-to-back? The more the merrier.

No reg's on where you comment on the game, but this post/comments is more for pre-game speculation, while the game threads are intended for in-the-moment tomfoolery, reaction, and instant post-game analysis. (Am I being too redundant? Sorry, just trying to keep the lines of communication open. Requests, complaints, suggestions are always welcome, but I've already heard the "Get a life" variety.)

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