Islanders Gameday: Here comes Gainey's bust

Remember when that stupid Scott Gomez contract helped keep the Rangers in a wonderful stasis? And then Bob Gainey inexplicably bailed Glen Sather out by taking that deal on for himself?

Yeah, I know, it wasn't that long ago. At least Gainey's getting what he bought (though far, far from what he paid for). Maybe that'll teach him -- Gomez has four goals and 13 assists in 32 games. The way Gainey's tinkered in Montreal lately, it's almost hard to believe now that this guy built the Minnesota North Dallas Stars Cup champions.

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Montreal Canadiens (15-18-3, 4th/NE) at New York Islanders (13-15-7, 4th/Atl)
7 p.m. | Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Mem. Coliseum | MSG+, radio

Robert at Habs Eyes on the Prize has seen enough:

The 2009-10 Canadiens chemistry experiment has been a bust. Would you prefer that it is admitted now, or in three years time?

It's meat, my friends. Time to stick a fork in its butt and turn it over.

An uptick in Carey Price's play and some un-Leafian luck has actually kept the Habs in a better position than they'd otherwise be. Their 33 points are the same as the Islanders but with one more game played; they have the standings look of a rebuilding team that isn't actually rebuilding.

Losers of five straight, the Habs are embarking on a seven-game road string that Robert says will be the end of them if they don't win six of seven. No pressure. (No no, never in Montreal!)

Unfortunately for us, the Habs get a big boost tonight: Number one defenseman Andrei Markov returns to the lineup. This is kind of like if Mark Streit returned to the Islanders lineup after missing all but parts of the first game of the season; even if there's rust, it would change the appearance of the squad. For the Canadiens, just two points out of what is currently a pathetic Eastern Conference playoff threshold, Markov's return might change the outlook on the rest of their season. A powerplay with Markov and Marc-Andre Bergeron on the points could be a sight we don't want to see.

More Injuries

The Habs are without Roman Hamrlik and Brian Gionta, though. For the Islanders, haven't heard a lick on how close Sean Bergenheim or Tim Jackman are to returning (nor Doug Weight, for that matter). We're up to our ears in DiPietro updates though. Considering Scott Gordon was happy with the effort despite the 5-2 loss at home to the Rangers, don't expect any big shakeup. Update: Martin Biron is slated to start. And Bruno Gervais may be back.

But Martin Biron was in net for both the 5-1 drubbing and the 3-2 OT loss in Montreal in October. If I were guessing at a goalie selection for tonight, I'd suppose Biron gets another crack at them.

Goal Droughts

So the Islanders have 12 goals in their last seven games -- four of those 12 by John Tavares on the powerplay. And Tavares hasn't registered a point in three games. Hopefully both trends break tonight.

The Canadiens have managed 10 goals during this five-game losing streak. No one is potting goals consistently lately, but expect 18-goal man Mike Cammallerri to be his usual dangerous self. He's actually on pace to be the Habs most dangerous sniper since Stephane Richer -- 20 years ago.

Any mid-day updates will be added here. Let's Go Is-lan-ders.

Prediction: Tavares scores again. The special teams determine the winner.

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